Cruise Puke Fest: Norovirus Strikes Celebrity Constellation

Yesterday we received an email from a cruise passenger planning to board the Celebrity Constellation, indicating that embarkation would be delayed several hours today because of a norovirus outbreak on the cruise ship.

Today news outlets are reporting that there has been a large outbreak of the dreaded disease on this ship. BBC reports that Celebrity Cruises' Constellation arrived in Southampton at 06:00 GMT at the end of a 12-night cruise. The local port health authority said about 350 passengers had fallen ill with norovirus and were exhibiting vomiting and diarrhea. 

Its departure has been delayed until 20:00 while "deep cleaning" takes place. Of course this type of Celebrity Constellation Cruise Shipcleaning is not much good if there is contaminated food or water or a sick crew member in the galley or waiting on tables. 

The BBC report further reports that around 2,200 passengers and 900 crew members had been on a wine cruise around the coasts of France and Spain. Passenger David Mattey said his holiday had been "completely ruined" when he went down with severe vomiting and diarrhea. He said: "The sanitation on that ship is bad."

The U.K.'s Daily Echo mentions that passenger Mattey was bed bound for seven days, and had to go to the medical center several times for an intravenous drip to rehydrate his body. Mattey told the newspaper: “For elderly people to go down with something like this is horrendous. I have never suffered from anything like it before I still feel very weak and I am relieved I am home.”

Celebrity Cruises is quoted telling the newspaper that only "a small number of guests" were affected by the virus. The 350 sickened passengers as reported by the BBC is a very high number to become sick.

This outbreak does not have to be reported to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) because the cruise ship does not call on a U.S. port. The last outbreak affecting this ship which was reported to the CDC occurred in February this year

The last outbreak reported about a Royal Caribbean / Celebrity cruise ship was last month and involved the Rhapsody of the Seas.

The cruise ships ported out of Southampton have experienced problems with norovirus outbreaks in the past which you can read about here and here

How did the cruise line handle this latest outbreak? 

 

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons (Megadri).

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Comments (14) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Linda Overall - November 6, 2012 4:00 PM

Just arrived back today from a 12 day trip on the Constellation, The virus was frightning in the speed it ran through the ship both young fit and old.
My husband 54 fit and healthy, contracted the virus after 8 days and confined to our cabin to 24 hours despite the fact that we both followed the hand washing and use of hand sanitizers 100% many passengers contracted it twice.
Were saw crew members not following the sanitizing advise.
the trip was totally ruined as we all made to line up for all drinks and food, most of the stations were closed by the time we had waited for drinks the food was cold, no condiments were available on tables
The library was closed
Kettles, drinking glasses, all books including bibles were removed for the cabins.it was crazy!

Roger Bennett - November 7, 2012 5:28 AM

Both the Lead article and the response from reader LO unintentionally underplay the severity of the actual events. People respond to nice people and the Channel 4 Documentary demonstrated that crew talk and talk well. I was informed by a crew member a week into the cruise that there had been over 1,000 cases and on that particular day there were circa 48 in quarantine including crew. The reference to some people being ill twice can also be misleading. A second virus was on board, as mentioned in the Ship Newsletter, thus it is likely that these persons caught both. A manager was overheard shouting at an attendant that the attendant was not to discuss the epidemic with guests as it would cause panic. I think that the manager was wrong to shout and thereby be overheard, but also wrong to think that panic had not already set in. When your 5* Cabin is reduced to a 2* shed due to the amount of items being removed, then you know that something is badly wrong. Another crew member told me that the employees in the white body suits and masks were removing items to be destroyed and not cleaned. All of this is of course extremely concerning, but the greatest concern of all, is that online researching will inform readers that the Constellation has been sick all season with outbreaks as far back as February and as recently as June/July. With that in mind, it appears that Celebrity could have done more to protects its guests from the outset of each cruise and NOT instead badly play catch-up when the guests are locked on board and unable to escape from the ship. Having an outbreak is not unusual and is not restricted to cruise ships, or one provider, it is how you handle the problem that matters and Celebrity haven't quite come up to standard yet.

Theresa Calvy - November 7, 2012 12:09 PM

Like Linda Overall, I arrived home yesterday from the 12 day trip on Constellation. Everything she says is exactly right. In the end we were not even allowed to put our own salt and pepper on our food!! The waiters had to do it for us! I was with 5 friends and two of us contracted the virus - my friend had it twice! We were always so particular in using the hand sanitizers as well, although we found the officers not too particular in reminding the passengers to use them. We didn't even have anything to be sick in whilst in the cabin toilets if we had diarrohea at the same time!! We were told by some staff that approximately 20 per cent of the passengers went down with the virus and that in the middle of the cruise!

Neil taylor - November 7, 2012 12:11 PM

Just got back from wine cruise .day 2 our waiter was off sick. Day 3, 5 out of 8 on our table including me very sick. Next day no better rang medical centre told stay in cabin and nurse will come. 5 hours later rang again nurse said if no current problems she will do nothing. Very surprised until heard she had seen 375 people that day. Rumour over1000 sick!!!! Ruined cruise completely as more and more taken from cabin including as someone said the bible!!!! Have asked for full refund no reply yet.

Heather Mannion - November 7, 2012 12:15 PM

Arrived back yesterday from 12 day trip on the Constellation, I contracted Norovirus 3 days into the cruise and was very ill, in fact I have never been so ill in my life (56 years). The cabin was stripped of kettle, all drinking glasses, sofa cushions, fruit bowl etc. never to be seen again. Salt/pepper pots were removed from the Dining tables, the waiter was the only person allowed to 'adminster' the contents of these. All drinks had to be queued for, sometimes wait times of upto 5 mins or more. The first time I have every been on a cruise and lost weight. The first and last time we ever go on a Celebrity cruise.

Ray Broughton - November 9, 2012 7:05 AM

My wife and I were on the 12 day Constellation "Wine Cruise" that ended 6th November, 2012, in Southampton. Having just read the comments that guests have already posted, I can agree with all the descriptions of what it was like.
I strongly suspect that viruses were on board before the cruise began and were transmitted by crew in the food processing/serving area. On the second night, I was violently vomiting from, I believe, food poisoning. Another guest on our table went down with it also on the 2nd night. I did not regain any interest in food until the 8th day and felt unwell until then. Fortunately, my wife did not get sick. Still, the holiday was ruined by the illness and made worse by the removal of all comforts from staterooms, turning 5 star into 2 star accommodation. Waiting in line for food and drinks for the rest of the cruise at different stations made it very difficult to get all items hot at the same time. In frustration, I sometimes chose not to eat or only choose food with no queues. At main seated dining, if you could attract the attention of the waiters, frequently replacements for now ill waiters, you could get some salt and pepper applied to your meal, but you could not control this to individual taste.
Messages from the ship often referred to guests "understanding" the measures that kept removing more items and freedoms but I never noticed any official "sorry" for all the changes.
From early in the cruise, the "sanitisation" measures felt like the passengers on this cruise were written off as collateral damage and that the next cruise passengers would have all the stateroom items back in place and normal service resumed.... Until the next outbreak!
If crew members don't get paid if they are ill, then it is no wonder that they continue serving guests whilst spreading their germs.
I am not looking forward to sailing again with Celebrity but have a cruise on the Silhouette booked for the 1st December!!!

Peter Vandersluis - November 9, 2012 12:30 PM

Like all the others we have just returned from the wine cruise.I contracted the novovirus on the 27th October and my wife on the 28th we were confined to our by now sparce cabin and in an pamphlet posted under our door were told if we left the cabin before given permission we would be disembarked from ship.The staff phoned continually through to 2 days to make sure we had not left the cabin. Member of waiting staff told us the head waiter collapsed in the main dining room on the 26th Oct and anothercollapesed on the following sitting. Have spoken to help line ha ha and they did not deny that the virus was all ready on board when we embarked.As for compensation it would appear although the company is culpable by not informing everyone when we boarded that the virus was there and we should take great care they will only give credit notes for future cruises as they appear to think its not their fault.I am awaiting a reply to my request for monetary compensation and if not forthcoming am going to no win no pay solicitors. This will cost the company more than if it pays up and would encourage you all to take the same route. I was trip on 27th when struck down and did manage after some effort to get back 50% of trip,not before female on trip desk told us it was our own fault for not washing our hands properly. I asked how we were supposed to do this when we eat we could be using infected plates glasses, cutlery etc and that I always do wash my hand after visiting the toilet but did not know virus was on board and that we should wash our hands between meal courses. Shame on Celebrity cruises.

elizabeth holland-sharer - November 10, 2012 6:21 AM

My exhusband sent me this site and the details; my husband and I just returned from the Oct 25th sailing IN SHOCK at the happenings, non-disclosure and TERRIBLE CONDITIONS without ONE WORD of any 'outbreak' and in FACT BLAMING ALL OF "US" for the current outbreak! My husband was the first to 'get it' and WE NEVER GET SICK WHEN TRAVELING!! They QUARANTINED HIM! "i" was allowed to continue and 'they' blamed it on an outbreak of a 'flu' virus!! "HE" thought he had eaten something at one of the luncheons in Bordeaux visit BUT WAS NOT THAT at ALL! "I" was fine for the most part and will say have NEVER, EVER been sick on a ship since age of FIVE YEARS OLD! Having traveled extensively since that age in military, otherwise, "I" found I was gifted with a 'natural immunity' to most things out there..LUCKY ME..UNTIL THIS TRIP!!! I continued to do excursions, enjoy what I could on this now DEPLETED 'major birthday/anniversay' affaire that took TWO YEARS to put together time, money, etc. to do at top of the line!! and we booked VERY EXPENSIVE EXCURSIONS for EVERYTHING on board, PAYING IN FULL ON ALL!! NOT ONE DIME HAS BEEN OFFERED BACK FOR RECOMPENSE while my husband and then ME became excrutiatingly SICK beyond delirium with 'advice' of 'eat only DRY WHITE RICE, some kind of SICKENING inky white broth and DRIED TO THE POINT OF EXTINCTION chicken meat!! THAT is what was offered up to either of us! I was so weak and dehydrated my huband thought I wasn't going to make it and still, NO MEDICAL OFFER WHATSOEVER!!!!! I DID make a phone call to a desk I used prior to cruise for elite members and was given a person who would be contact for this purpose; when I DID get to speak to her, her RESPONSE WAS UNBELIEVABLE, in TOTAL DENIAL, 'suggesting' verbally that "...people get sick on ships 'ALL THE TIME'!!" I was astounded at her lack of interest, care and she shut down the conversation immediately when I 'suggested' that IF the advise had been given upcoming passengars, we MIGHT have been able to obtain preventable or other meds to bring 'just in case' this happened to US and she 'poo pood' the idea!As for sending any comments, claims, etc., she said ONLY FAXES would be accepted, no mail, letters, other correspondence, and again blamed the circumstances on 'industry wide' issues/illness especially at this 'time' of year! It took me TWO YEARS of planning, paying for and looking forward and ALL WENT TO HADES in a few SHORT HOURS upon boarding!

Patricia Drain - November 14, 2012 1:34 PM

My husband was lucky and got virus 2 nights from end We d paid for concierge class cabin a waste of money as glasses brewing utensils etc were removed after 2 days Why ? surely it was safer brewing up in your own cabin. We were told disposable beakers were to be given out they never arrived We re 80 and my husband takes a lot of medication we complained and 2 glasses arrived. Eating at seaside cafe difficult as we both have walking sticks and can t carry the tray we were told to use we were never given any help 1st time on cruise ship. When he got virus toilet paper so thin useless not enough water came in toilet. He was taken to medical centre in wheel chair. Had injection and given medication. Told separate arrangements would be made for disembarkation and breakfast would be delivered to cabin for us both. It was 3 toasts done on 1 side 1 slice warm bread 2 butters 2 jams. My husband was brought off in wheel chair when ship was empty and we came home on mini bus with another couple to Manchester Celebrity got that right

Miranda Corben - November 15, 2012 3:06 PM

I too went down with this illness in the wee small hours of my third night on the cruise. I have never been so violently ill in my life. I was travelling solo (luckily no one else was sharing the bathroom!), but felt extremely unhappy feeling ill and isolated not just when I spent the mandatory 24 hours in my cabin but for two further days thereafter when I felt too unwell to join in any other activities/meals/shore excursions. I couldn't face the prospect of three nights and two full days at sea crossing the Bay of Biscay in this condition, so when we got to Vigo I engaged the help of the concierge to book me on a flight back to Gatwick from Oporto the following afternoon. Having read the other passengers' reports of the remainder of this trip I am so glad I did so! But getting off the boat was in itself a complete nightmare - I had to present myself and all my luggage to the immigration officials at 8 a.m. the following morning, even though my flight wasn't until late afternoon. I was also told that the ship could not book me a cab to get to the airport; I would have to do this once ashore. Feeling like death warmed up, the worry over all these extra problems caused me to have a more or less sleepless night. When I did eventually leave the ship I was required to sign a disclaimer, and in my weak condition did not question this or ask for a copy, which may ruin my chance of getting any kind of compensation later. If there is to be any group action, I would be happy to join in. This was certainly one of the worst experiences of my life.

Humberto Romero - November 20, 2012 10:23 AM

This is absolutely ridiculous. Royal Caribbean ( Celebrity Cruises) is a selfish and irresponsible company to say the least. My wife and I have never been so sick in our lives even though she was way sicker than me.....we asked to see a doctor and they wouldn't let her, she had to see a nurse instead. Nothing against being a nurse, but if we request a doctor my wife should have been able to see one. I have never seen anyone throw up as much as my wife did. It was truly heartbreaking. She was so weak she could barely walk. My wife is a young woman (28) and had no chance against this virus. She was quarantined and the only thing they had to offer was this nasty white rice and dry chicken. They offered to bring her liquids (Gatorade etc) it took them more than 3 hrs to deliver it. They told us we were able to see a movie free of charge due to the fact that she was quarantined and we were charged for it. Ultimately we decided to disembark the ship in Portugal. We made the decision that we would rather take our chances off of this pestilence and make it back home on our own. They treated us like garbage...like how dare us leave the ship. Are you kidding me? The last thing said to us was "well now you are on your own". That was exactly what we wanted to hear at this point. The fact is that we were on our own the moment we boarded this piece of garbage that they call a ship. This whole trip was ruined for us. Many many months of planning so much money wasted and these people don't want to hear anything about giving us a full refund. We should all file a class action lawsuit and sue the hell out of this irresponsible company that doesn't care or know how to handle this situation. They are a bunch of liers as well...to say to the news that only a few people got sick is just disgusting to hear. Thousands of people got sick not just a few. This shows that they just don't give a sh*t about anyone except themselves. Everyone here should stand up to them and force these people to take the right actions. Maybe then and I emphasize the word "maybe" they will learn to have some kind of responsibility. I know my wife and I are definitely taking this case further and will not rest until these bunch of selfish, non-caring, irresponsible bunch of people do the right thing.

Brian Turner - December 10, 2012 6:55 AM

Similar experiences to the people who have posted already. I was sick on day 4 and my wife on day 8. Company seem only to be concerned of the time we had to stay in isolation and cannot see all the other impacts from room stripped of all but essentails, ports missed and unable to eat properly for a few days after. For us the cruise was ruined. Have written to complain and been offered £80 each in voucher for next cruise with celebrity. Of course there will not be another cruise as far as I am concerned so vouchers are of no value. I have asked for a more substantial cash offer which has been declined. Any recommendation as to where to take next? Happy to pass to some of these no win no fee areas as I have nothing to lose given all on the table at the moment are totally worthless vouchers.

Michael - January 5, 2013 2:32 AM

I just got off this point from the new years cruise. I got ill on Wednesday evening and I am still suffering really bad. Do all you can to tell people to avoid the constellation. The ship is truly sick.

Linda - October 9, 2013 11:42 AM

Just off the celebrity constellation Black Sea cruise sept25- oct 7 over 300 sick with Norovirus etc.. Crew did their best but the sickness progressed rapidly,.no time to really get rid of the problem between cruises.. Expensive problem for passengers traveling from far away places and not being warned prior to boarding the ship. This produces lots of anxiety for all who look forward to a wonderful time. Celebrity should do better for their loyal customers.

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