Jewel of the Seas Remains Contaminated with Norovirus

A reader of our blog informs us that Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas continues to infect cruise passengers with norovirus. 

The reader referred us to the Harwich and Manningtree Standard and Daily Gazette newspapers in Norwich U.K. which report that Royal Caribbean passengers continue to be struck by a highly-contagious virus for the second time in a month. The cruise line again delayed the departure a few hours yesterday so that they crew could try some extra cleaning to deal with the problem.

The reader commented:

"Obviously the last attempt didn't work, so why should this? I would have expected that by now, the source and specific nature of the virus would have been found, thus allowing effective Cruise Ship Norovirus - Royal Caribbeantreatment to be carried out before the ship sails. However, since I have not heard otherwise, I assume it has sailed again last evening, with a new set of unsuspecting guests . . .  How can the port authority in Harwich allow this to happen?"

Royal Caribbean's PR people crafted the following statement: "At Royal Caribbean International, we have high health standards for all our guests and crew."

We reported on the last norovirus outbreak on the Jewel of the SeasNorovirus On Royal Caribbean's Jewel Of The Seas?   45 passengers commented on the story and described poor food handling, cleaning, and medical procedures on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship.  

Have you sailed on the Jewel of the Seas recently?  How is the cruise line handling the situation? 

Please leave a comment below.  

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Comments (7) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Glen Swanson - June 28, 2010 10:59 AM

The sad thing is that RCCL informs the UK people on prev Wed of 6/11 cruise, about ariving later in the day because the ships depature will be delayed. The US folks flying are not informed and are lied to at airport. We arrived at approx 7:30am and were told the ship was late in arriving and will be delayed. Only when we are shuttled off to one of the waiting areas are we told about the virus. Amaizing that they tell us that we could cancel the cruise if we worried about the virus (after flying 8 hours and having very few options available). Finally after boarding their ship about 9:30pm (luggage shows up 1:30am) well the 1st day is lost! Add the fact that we had a child with us and the Adventure Ocean program was not available until Day 3 because they were still sanintizing that area of ship despite us leaving Harwich. Why did RCCL allow a ship with a virus leave its departure port much less bring unsuspecting guests on board until it was 100% sanitized? MONEY! What RCCL did was a scam to its customers offering a $25 refund per person. They should have put everyone up at local Hotels and delayed its sailing a day. Adding to insult.. with passengers again getting sick with the same symptoms, they passed blame 1st to something from St Petersburg, and later brought on at Finland. What is sad is RCCL continued to point the blame at someone else and fail to accept responsibility. The ship should have no way left Harwich much less accepted passengers until the Ship was 100% sanitized.

Concerned - June 28, 2010 1:53 PM

RCI have flaunted the UK rules regarding outbreaks of reportable illnesses aboard cruise ships. In the USA they are governed by the CDC and have to report to them only instances happening in American waters or if the ship is to call at a USA port. Whilst in Europe they come under different rules and the UK's ones are even more strict that the American ones. They reported the first outbreak to the UK on a timely basis and all UK passengers were informed, not the American ones as they did not have to do that! - nice of them to be so kind to their American friends wasn't it!

Under UK law the ship on the second clean should have been done by a UK Health team, not the RCI Miami based one that has now flown to the UK twice in 14 days. The UK rules state that the ship MUST be cleared before she sails again - this was clearly not done as some passengers could not get into their cabins until 11pm AFTER the ship sailed. Those cabins were still being cleaned by the Miami team that now stayed on board.

The ship was infected whilst in Tallin at the same time as the Vision of the Seas was in port and as both crews mingled so the virus got on to the Jewel. The Vision has had many outbreaks during the past few months. Both ships should now be taken out of service and completely detoxed - plus all crew taken off and a new crew put on that are not infected - that includes the entertainment crew, casino personnel etc. and spa girls, who by all accounts acted as waiters instead of doing their own jobs. All swimming pools need draining as well - plus all stateroom utensils such as ice buckets and tumblers need to be replaced with new.

A very expensive job so the job will never be done - thus outbreaks such as these will happen time and time again.

P London - June 30, 2010 11:26 AM

My family and I were on the sailing that departed June 12. We arrived early and were told that approximately 300 people had contracted norovirus on the previous sailing; we were shuttled to a football stadium to wait. Boarded about 5:30, got our cabins about 10:00. We were blasted awake the next morning for the mandatory lifeboat drill, not welcome for a day at sea after traveling from the U.S. I did not like the handling of service in the Windjammer and agree it promotes, rather than contains, the spread of germs. I also did not appreciate being treated like a child, having a crew member approach me and spray my hands without asking.

However, having said all that, the crew did the best they could. Having the Cruise Director hand out plates in the Windjammer really focused me on how hard the staff was being asked to work. I also saw casino staff serving passengers. I know of no one who got sick and all things considered we had a great time. Norovirus will exist where ever there are large numbers of people in a confined space. I will sail with RCL again (this was my 6th time).

John Q Crew - July 4, 2010 9:30 AM

Some of these suggestions are ludicrous..Replace the entire crew? Are you kidding? Just replace 800 employees, right.. It's the passenger's fault that this virus comes on board. You all don't wash your hands!! Don't blame the crew members! We go well out of our way to fix YOUR mess, and we are the ones whose lives suffer because of your ignorance. Our shore leave is greatly affected, and the extra hours constantly cleaning the ship are gruesome. The problem is the virus has a 48 hour incubation period, so if you have it, then you've already been walking around the ship infecting people for 2 days. We literally stripped the entire ship the day we left Harwich at 9 pm. You'd think the guests would be appreciative about not having to sleep in an unclean room, but of course, they weren't. Maybe learn to be a little understanding and appreciative instead of just trying to scam the company out of a free cruise.

Ian Timms - July 4, 2010 3:59 PM

In response to John Q from the crew. I think you're missing the point here somewhere. Its not so much about who brings the virus on board, because that could be anybody, its how the cruise line responds to the crisis.

Cruising is now a mass market family activity for US and UK families. That's why your company is building 228,000 tonne mega liners; to turn a profit on that market. But it can still be a struggle to find an average $4-5,000 dollars per couple. By the way that's the money that puts the uniform on your back, buys your drinks in the crew bar and stops you having to ask "would you like to go-large with that" at your hometown drive thru !!! In return you hope for a travel experience of a lifetime, not a holiday from hell. Yes I know what "stuff" happens....everywhere ... and we deal with it. What I can't stomach (?) is the corporate line and lies that RCCL insist on peddling.

While the junior crew were doing their very best, under trying circumstances, all you ever got from the front desk is a smiling stonewall of platitudes and shifted blame. The ship's senior management didn't have a clue what to do and tasked their deck team with some really bizarre cleansing protocols. The Captain's daily announcements and calculations on sick numbers were just comical. The way RCCL treated some of those lining up for the next cruise was truly appalling. The level of compensation offered was tokenist and derisory. And throughout the tone was always the same; a dirty passenger must be the one brought the virus onto your beautiful ship. If only you could run a cruise industry without passengers eh?

I was the journalist who was travelling on the May 31st departure and alerted my colleagues in the press and media that Jewel was returning riddled with virus. Don't like the heat RCCL ? Try cleaning the kitchen or the water plant or maybe the toilets!

spider - July 5, 2010 11:16 AM

Whooooooaahhh - thats a bit hard, the above post obviosuly posted by RCI staff.

Strange that for the past few sailings different guests have been affected - this would not happen if the ships had had its proper detox. The only people who stay on board are the staff. With that attitude - why should I give tips for the staff - if comments like we go well out of our way to fix YOUR mess...

I'm due to sail this week, and this has certainly made my mind up not go give RCI tips but to give to those I feel have earned them.

Maybe a full statement from RCI is what is needed to clear up this mess and clarify exactly what the problem is instead of hiding whatever is going on.

kate - July 19, 2010 1:43 PM

We boarded the Jewel on 6/12. I agree the crew did the best they could and I too know of no one that was affected. In fact, the illness came on board in Helsinki (twice)...as we were told about 80 were affected on our cruise and it spiked at Helsinki...so the Helsinki shore excursions were being looked at. I DO marvel at one thing...in Helsinki we did an all day tour...lunch included. NO hand sanitizer was on the bus AND the place we ate did not have hot water OR soap in the rest rooms. There were a couple hundred of us eating there...and VERY FEW OF YOU even tried to wash your hands beore eating...I know this b/c I did not have to wait as I attempted to wash my hands.

RCI put hand sanitizer on every bus AND make sure your shore excursions are trying as hard as you are to contain the disease.

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