Two Princess Cruise Ships Sicken Passengers with Norovirus

Two cruise ships operated by Princess Cruises are sailing into South Florida have well over 200 passengers experiencing norovirus like symptoms - nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

The Crown Princess arrived in Port Everglades today with 140 ill passengers and an additional 18 sick crewmembers.

Tomorrow, the Ruby Princess will arrive at port in Fort Lauderdale with 90 infected passengers and 13 sick crewmembers.

Princess Cruises Ships NorovirusThe "official" reported cases are usually far less than the actual number of cases, we have found.

PR people for Princess, as usual, are talking about subjecting the cruise ships to "enhanced cleaning" of  "high-touch surfaces like railings, door handles and elevator buttons" and "encouraging passengers to use correct hand washing procedures and enhancing this with the use of hand sanitizing gels placed throughout the ship."

At this point, there is no indication whether ill passengers boarded the cruise ships and sickened others, or whether ill crew handling food sickened the passengers, or whether the food or water sickened the passengers and crew.

The other month I was interviewed in a travel publication and discussed the problem of norovirus on cruise ships in an article entitled "When Bugs Swim."  Cruise lines Ike Princess always blame the passengers and suggest that they need to wash their hands more or use hand sanitizers which are not effective at combating norovirus.  

Cruise lines never admit that their own crew, or the the cruise food or water, may be the culprits.  Many attempts at cleaning by the crew actually make the problem worse, particularly when the source of the virus is the cruise line's food and water and then the vomitted norovirus is spread by rags which the crew rub all over the ship. 

This is the fourth sickness outbreak reported on a cruise ship this year, according tp the CDC.

If you were on these cruises, please leave a comment below and let us know how the cruise line handled these two outbreaks.

February 5 2012 Update:

CNN reports that the number affected on these two cruise ships is around 500.

Meanwhie, in New Orleans:

 Norovirus On Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas Sickens 200 Passengers - Fifth Cruise Ship Sickness Outbreak This Year!

 

Photo Credit:   CBS-12

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Comments (26) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Patricia Tremblay - February 4, 2012 10:55 PM

I just got off this cruise Crown Princess. There were 20 in our group and 11 came down with the virus. This caused for 2 of our freinds to be so sick they could not board a plane and have to stay in Florida until they feel well enough to travel let alone infect a plane. I am sure many people travelled sick as they could not afford to delay homecoming with the expense of changing flights and paying for hotels.I think the numbers and the problem are much greater than reported. On Friday 04/03/12 it was like a ghost ship with poor dining room attendance. Those who were not sick stayed in their cabins. I did see several people at diner alone as their significant others were sick in the cabin so why were they roaming about the ship. My research upon return shows the ship has had problems with NV since December 2011 we shuld have been given notice of this and the option to cancel.

Susan wiebler - February 5, 2012 11:23 AM

We deboarded the ship on january 21.... I have been sick ever since.

the antibiotics made things better but still a lot of issues... I will write more when I feel better

Charles Nastasi - February 5, 2012 2:55 PM

Even though I was not these two cruise ships I know that prior to entering the gates of ship lines, passengers are required to indicate on a form if they have any type of sickness and sign it to the effect, that they don't. I am sure that many passengers do not truthfully admit they are sick and that is how most pasengers become ill once on a cruise. I have observed the cleanliness of the crew and feel they do not contribute to any illness on board.

Joell Rybczyk - February 5, 2012 3:47 PM

My husband and I were on the Crown Princess, and dismebarked on Saturday morning. I came down with the virus during the night on Friday. When I called the medical team as instruced, I was informed that there were too many cases for them to get to me before disembarkment. I was quarrentined into my room until all the 'non-infected' people disembarked. I was expecting some sort of reaction by the CDC or cruise ship for the infected passengers, but we were all kicked off the ship with no questions asked. There were people vomiting on the sidewalk! Passanger after passenger piled into taxis and buses, heading to the airport and hotels...spreading the virus as they went. My husband and I actually had to book a hotel for the day, as I was too ill to travel home. I did get on a plane that evening, despite my fears of spreading the virus, as I could not afford to make alternative arrangements. I am surprised at the lack of concern by the staff. We were off the ship by 10:30, and they were reboarding by 12:30! I am pretty sure they could not effectively sanitize the whole ship in 2 hours! It will be a long time before I go on a Princess (or any) cruise again.

Judy Fudge - February 5, 2012 6:53 PM

There were six in our group that got off the Crown Princess January 28th I had diarrhea the night of the 27th. I did not have nausea or vomiting. The other two ladies had stomach aches. We were back to normal in less than 12 hours. Husband's, all very big guys, were not affected.

Rochelle Handelman - February 6, 2012 12:25 AM

I was on the Crown Princess January 21 - 28 so luckily just missed the outbreak which must have been on the January 28-February 4 Crown Princess cruise.

I went to the buffet for lunch on Sunday January 22. There was a crew member making sure that passengers used Purell before going go the buffet. But the several times later that I went to the buffet, there was no crew member monitoring the use of the hand sanitizer. I did notice that some passengers were not using the Purell.

The night before the ship docked, I was in one of the washrooms off of one of the diningrooms and noticed that the 2 soap dispensers there had no soap in them and I informed one of the crew.

D. B - February 6, 2012 1:48 AM

I was on the Crown Princess also. Out of the 8 of us, 4 got hit hard. 2 of the 4 were vomiting profusely on the air flight home after getting off ship. The other 2 became sick Thursday night and we're a mess on Friday. I talked to 2 sep. people on Thurs. and they said the Nurse had told their people who were sick that there were well above 500 people affected. One had said 1000. 1/3 of the passengers. The more I think about it, the more I realized I got very lucky to not catch any of the cesspool of this communicable nightmare. In retrospect all of my excessive hand sanitizing, hand washing, and non touching of anything outside my cabin may have paid off. My wife and I brought lysol wipes and spray and cleaned our entire stateroom when we got on board.

Karen Scerbo - February 6, 2012 8:11 AM

We travelled the southern Caribbean in 11/2011 aboard the Carnival Victory. On the second to the last day of our adventure, my husband and I became very ill. My husband had to eventually report to the E.R. soon after arriving home. On the drive home from the airport, I became violently ill with dysentary and vomitting. We will never cruise again. No one can tell me the potable water is "biologically safe". The room was filthy, caked dust on shelving, fingerprints everywhere, stained carpet. A certain indescribable odor was present in the bathroom, I guess one could say similar to a sewer treatment plant.

Claudia Lessig - February 6, 2012 9:24 AM

Came off the Crown Princess on 2/4/12 with my 79 year old mother. I started vomiting/diarrhea Friday, 2/3 about 5 p.m. immediately called the Health Center as advised by the Captain. Told someone would be calling. My mother started symptoms within a 1/2 hour of me. We were quarantined to our stateroom. Symptoms lasted until about 11 p.m. and a nurse finally showed about 11:30 p.m. after a 2nd call to the Health Center to tell them my mother felt like she was going to faint. A nurse came to give her an injection and oral meds. I was told I was not allowed to take my Ft. Lauderdale shore excursion on the way to the airport and they promptly exchanged that ticket for a direct bus ride to the airport and all of sickies rode the bus after the 10:30 disembarkation. I feel bad for my seat mates on the 2 flights I had to take to get home. The info we were given said we were contagious for 2 days after symptoms. The CDC says 3 days and up to 2 weeks. I can't believe these few hundred people were just sent out into the public to fend for themselves and infect the general population.

angie coleman - February 6, 2012 9:58 AM

was considering taking a cruise this june but now i am not so sure

DCS - February 6, 2012 11:13 AM

We were on the famed Crown Princess returning Feb 4th, 2012. My wife fell violently ill Friday night with all of the above. After we called in for help, we were given the harsh CDC note that we had to disembark from 6:10-6:40 AM or after 10:30 AM. Medical was clearly overwhelmed, and all ship services were shut down Friday midnight, so no room service etc. We at least received a return call from Medical at 2AM offering a shot, but not sure when they could get to us. We took the early depart and booked a room for 4 hours at hotel before flying out Sat PM. I know people worry about infecting others, but we understand that you are contagious still for 2 days after. So we braved it but tried to be careful around others. I then fell ill Saturday night. Sunday was a total loss for both of us, literally. Another day or two at sea and the entire ship would have been sick. Looking back, we were lucky that it happened to us the last night. News this morning said RC ship arriving in New Orleans announced same noro episode, but CDC inspector was tied up in Florida. Go figure.

Albert Mohamed - February 6, 2012 3:33 PM

My friend & I were planning a cruise on Princess to the Panama Canal within the next couple of months. Costa Concordia gave us pause for thought. Norovirus outbreak on THREE ships, & comment by Karen Scerbo re: 02-06-2012 "room was filthy" & "indescribable odor...in the bathroom" seals the deal. Headache, diarrhea, vomiting, not my idea of a "fun" cruise. Blaming the virus on pasengers on 3 different ships, I don't think so. Forget you, Princess Cruise Lines!

janet bromley - February 7, 2012 5:37 AM

was on the crown returning sat 4th,have nothing but praise for princess,the ship was always clean even more so once the outbreak was announced! felt so sorry f or all the crew who worked through the night cleaning.din,t come down with noro because we always wash and sanitaise our hands shame not everybody else did the same,on several occasions buffet staff had to chase after people who would just walk into the service line and pick items up. and to the previous comment about reboarding at 12.30 not true the crown didn,t leave again till after 10 sat night,roll on my next cruise

Cam K - February 7, 2012 12:08 PM

We were on The Grand Princess and disembarked Feb. 4th in Ft. Lauderdale. My wife fell ill late Sunday and was most likely infected at the airport or in the van ride to the airport. You don't have to be on one of the contaminated ships to aquire this horrible virus just among those infected. The pier and airport were so jammed packed on Saturday I'm sure there are hundreds of more cases that are not reported such as ours.

Cam K - February 7, 2012 12:25 PM

We were on The Grand Princess and disembarked Feb. 4th in Ft. Lauderdale. My wife fell ill late Sunday and was most likely infected at the airport or in the van ride to the airport. You don't have to be on one of the contaminated ships to aquire this horrible virus just among those infected. The pier and airport were so jammed packed on Saturday I'm sure there are hundreds of more cases that are not reported such as ours.

D.B. - February 7, 2012 2:27 PM

Cam 2 from our party fell violently ill Sat. afternoon on the airplane out of Ft Laud. There is no doubt they became infected on the Crown. Another 2 joined the approx 1000 that fell ill thurs night and Friday. The virus takes 24-48 hours to present after infection. By the grace of God and obsessive precautions, my wife and I avoided catching it. The whole petri dish (Ship) is a nightmare to control. The only way to limit it is to MAKE the cruise lines thoroughly disinfect the ships before taking off on next cruise. We paid a lot of money to have a good time. IMO the whole self serve Buffet needs to be discontinued. I saw many people wiping their noses, eyes etc while at the buffet. People are generally disgusting and dirty. The Coffee Cafe guys all wiping their noses and stuff. I had to ask the guy to not make my latte. Having serious second thoughts about ever cruising again and I didn't get sick. Just watching the horror of people in my group was enough.

Marietta Muller - February 7, 2012 3:11 PM

I have cruised with Princess Cruises on 3 different occassions and boarding another on 1 March 2012. I have nothing but the upmost respect for all the crew and dedicated staff in the medical department onboard these cruise liners. Their service and level of cleanliness onboard is superb!! On all 3 cruises onboard Princess cruiseliners, I was shocked at the total disregard of fellow passengers to adhere to the request of the staff onboard to sanitise their hands and apply the infection control procedures repeatedly requested!People use the toilets and walk straight into dining areas without washing their hands and become very agitated when kindly requested by staff to please sanitise before entering dining areas! I also wonder if sick passengers onboard realise that in a case of this magnitude, the medical staff are attending to hundreds of other sick passengers and crew, this being the reason for long treatment waiting times! I just don't think blaming Princess Cruises is correct, if passengers refuse to adhere to the rules and regulations onboard these ships!I sanitise regularly at the request of the staff and for the safety of fellow passengers onboard and have enjoyed 3 wonderful cruises with the Princess fleet! I look forward to many more cruises with Princess, keep up the good work!!!

Joell rybczyk - February 7, 2012 4:55 PM

Now the ship is returning to port 2 days early because the next group of victims...I mean passangers, also developed the Norvovirus. Shocking! But these people are having their trip reinbursed, plus their travel expenses covered by Princess. How ablout those of use who had to rearrange our traveling plans because we were too ill to make it home, or had to pay for hotel rooms because they had nowhere else to go to vomit after they got off the ship!

D.B. - February 8, 2012 1:58 PM

Husband and I were on the Crown Princess returning Feb4. He became ill (vomiting) late Thurs evening on way back to cabin. Called for help when he had diarrhea and staff member came wearing hazmat suit and respirator mask. Felt they were taking this very seriously. Removed ALL linens, washed down walls and surfaces, sprayed etc. Did this about 3-4 times each day. Dr came and said was norovirus and husband was to stay in cabin. Service deteriorated as trip came closer to end and we learned so many others were ill. For disembarkation we were last of our group off because of waiting for wheelchair for husband and I had to drag our baggage as no porter came. Have both been to DR since return and will need time to feel "normal."
Would be interested in any news about compensation for us.

JOE FAVUZZI - February 8, 2012 3:51 PM

MY WIFE AND I DID A BACK TO BACK ON THE GRAND FROM JAN 21 TO FEB 4, FT LAUDERDALE. IRONICALLY WHEN WE LEFT PORT EVERGLADES, THE CROWN WAS RIGHT BEHIND US. DURING OUR CRUISE THERE WAS NOT EVEN A RUMOR OR HINT OF NOROVIRUS ON BOARD. WE DID NOT FIND OUT ABOUT THE CROWN AND RUBY TILL WE HEARD IT ON THE RADIO WHILE DRIVING HOME FROM THE AIRPORT. PERHAPS THE PROCESS OF ELIMINATION CAN BE USED REGARDING VENDORS AND FOOD SUPPLIERS, PROCEDURES ETC ON THE THREE SHIPS. PS: I WAS GETTING ANOID AT THE NUMBER OF TIMES I HAD TO OBSERVE THE TV STATION ON THE PROPER METHOD OF WASHING HANDS. BOY, WAS I WRONG.

robert & nancy goodrich - February 12, 2012 12:08 PM

my wife and i scheduled for a cruise on the crown princess march 17,2012.
we are very troubled by the recent outbreaks as my wife has leukemia and are seriously thinking about cancelling. a compromised immune system does not sound very good for my wife to take a cruise on a recently infected ship.
any comments ?

carol hogg - February 18, 2012 9:30 PM

my husband and i cruised on the crown princess from 21st january to 27th january, then had 1 night stay in a hotel in fort lauderdale and then cruised on the ruby princess from 29th january to 4th february. we were not affected by this virus and had a fab time on both ships. standards of cleanliness was very good as it had been on our previous 2 cruises with princess in the past and will cruise with them again. this virus can be picked anywhere not just on a cruise, just like the common cold can be picked up anywhere, thats life,

Adrianus Martens - February 23, 2012 4:32 PM

My girlfriend and I embarked on the Ruby Princess from Fort Lauderdale to visit Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Grand Turks/Caicos on Sunday February 12, 2012.

At approximately 5 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday February 14, I became violently ill with diarrhoea and vomiting. I was unable to leave our cabin all day Tuesday, as I was feeling weak and had no choice but to remain close to our bathroom. Throughout the day I vomited multiple times and was suffering from constant diarrhoea.

The next day, our room steward Jay (who provided excellent, personalized service and is a credit to Princess Cruises) became concerned when he noticed that our Do Not Disturb card was constantly in our door lock, preventing him from performing his daily housekeeping duties. He instructed me to call the medical center right away, which I did on Wednesday morning Feb 15, the day we were supposed to visit St. Maarten. I explained what was happening to Sarah at the medical center, who placed me under quarantine for 48 hours. She also sent up some pills which I started taking as instructed on the package.

I gradually started feeling better over the next two days and by Friday morning was back to normal, though still weak from fluid loss. (My best guess is that I lost somewhere around ten pounds in weight in those three days, and this was noticed by both my girlfriend and friends we were traveling with as well!) I was able to at least enjoy the last island on our itinerary, though was upset at getting ill onboard in the first place and missing out on the two islands I really wanted to visit, St. Maarten and St. Thomas.

I was also quite upset that no other quarters were offered or provided for my girlfriend who shared my cabin during my illness. I was quarantined, yet she was able to come and go as she pleased from our cabin to any other part of the ship and all islands. In our opinion she should have been offered another cabin in order to prevent her from getting ill as well, and certainly to prevent her from unwittingly spreading the virus to other areas of the ship, its crew and passengers, and to the islands.

I will note that our room was disinfected twice daily during my quarantine period, but I feel those efforts taken to prevent spread were too lax, given the severity of the situation and recent unfortunate events on both the Crown and the Ruby. A spray and a wipe with some disinfectant and a rag are not, in my opinion, sufficient to disinfect an entire cabin.

I am unsure if I contracted this virus from a crewmember or if perhaps the previous guest in D222 was ill, or if it was just a random surface that I touched, and suppose I never will know. But I do know I have never experienced gastro-intestinal illness as severe as what I endured during those three days during our cruise. Beyond being ill and unable to function, what also really disappointed me was missing the time to see the islands and enjoy the ship with my girlfriend and our friends on our hard-earned vacation.

I have sent a letter asking for a refund for at least the three days I/we missed of our cruise due to this illness, I have been told to expect a reply in 4-6 weeks. There's nothing like a prompt reply... We'll see what happens, I guess.

Allan B - March 8, 2012 10:30 AM

I have friends who sailed on the Ruby Princess Feb 26 to March 4, 2012. They are Canadian French and I have written to Princess on their behalf to see what can be done as they disembarked with the Norovirus. The room steward recommended to visit the medical office before debarkation, but they did not. One couple is still in Florida and still suffering today March 8, 2012. The other couple returned to Canada yesterday in DIAPERS and holding barf bags. I guess Princess has not solved their Noro issue yet, but refuse to perform a real thorough disinfection of the ship. The fare loss would be enormous. Wonder how Princess will handle this event.

Mr.Mrs Kenneth E. Dean - April 16, 2012 3:32 PM

This was to have been my husband and I Honeymoon, and believe me , it turned into a nightmare. This was my first cruise, but my husband had been on cruises before. We were sick 5 days of the trip and did not leave the room, ---when we got to feeling a little better, we were afraid to leave the room, knowing it was all over the ship. Had it not been for our steward, we would have starved to death. We had saved that money for many yrs to go on this cruise and see the islands, needless to say , we may as well have thrown that hard earned money in the ocean. We could not go on any excursions, as they had already cancelled them all, due to the virus. Also I am a diabetic and we were told there was a refrigerator in the stateroom, and it was only a cooler, and all of my insulin ruined, due to that, and I was without it for 7 days. This set my health back a loop.

We are at this time asking for a refund and compensation for our misery, as well.

It has been at least 3wks since we sent the letter to the Ruby Princess Cruise, and to this date have not got a reply. We have about run out of patience at this time.
Mr.Mrs Kenneth E.Dean

Adelaida Q - April 25, 2012 7:38 PM

My sister and I took a cruise on Princess Cruises on April 15,2012 to celebrate my birthday and everything was fine until the 4th day of our 7 day cruise. My sister got very sick like cold/flu symptoms with high fever and could not leave the room or enjoy the last 2 days on board... I also got sick the day after my sister got sick with this virus and it ruined the last remaining days on the cruise into the next 2 days left on land vacation in San Juan Puerto Rico which was our port arrival. I noticed they used a pail of water and a rag to clean tables that were dirty over and over again the same dirty water and same rag. I am home now in Connecticut and was supposed to report to work on wed April 25,2012 and had to call out because i still have the virus and still feel ill with flu like symptoms. what a NITEMARE.... no more cruise vacations for us.

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