Here We Go Again: Norovirus Sickens 100 Passengers on Crown Princess Sailing to Galveston

Princess Cruises Crown Princess NorovirusA Galveston television station reports that a Princess Cruises' ship, sailing from Venice, Italy with a final destination in Galveston, has stricken nearly one cruise passengers with the dreaded norovirus.

KHOU states that the 20-day cruise turned out to be the "trip from hell" for dozens of passengers who fell ill. Ninety six passengers and six crew members on the Crown Princess became ill with the highly contagious norovirus.

With passengers stricken with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, a spokesperson for Princess Cruises responded that the cruise line took "extra precautions" with sanitation such as disinfecting "high-touch surfaces like railings, door handles and elevator buttons, encouraging passengers to use correct hand washing procedures and enhancing this with the use of hand sanitizing gels placed throughout the ship." 

Like all other of the many cruise norovirus cases, there will be no effort to scientifically determine the cause of the outbreak and try and track it down to either hand-to-hand contact from a passenger or crew member or from contaminated food or water.  Yes the enhanced cleaning is appropriate but Crown Princess Cruise Ship Noro Viruswon't do too much good if the nasty bug is in the food and/or water.  

The Crown Princess cruise ship left Venice on December 2, 2012 and is scheduled to arrive in Galveston on Saturday.

The Crown Princess experienced several bouts of norovirus earlier this year resulting in hundreds sick and one cruise to be cut short.

The first outbreak struck on the ship's January 28, 2012 cruise cruise and again on the February 4, 2012 cruise with several hundred passengers and crew members becoming ill. After the second outbreak Princess brought the ship back to Fort Lauderdale two days early for an “enhanced cleansing protocol.”

The Crown Princess also had some nasty noro outbreaks in December 2011 which you can read about here and here.

Anyone with info about this latest outbreak please leave a comment below. Or please leave a comment on our facebook page about this story.

Crown Princess Web Cam GalvestonDecember 22, 2012 Update: I am informed that there was a "red alert" for disease outbreak aboard the Crown Princess throughout the Atlantic crossing.  The cruise ship is now in Galveston (as you can see from the ship's bridge cam) and the CDC will board.  If you were on the cruise, how do you think the cruise line handled the outbreak?  Is around 100 sick passengers an accurate number of guests affected by the norovirus?  

Don't forget to read: "Why Do the Cruise Lines Always Blame the Passengers When Norovirus Breaks Out?"

 

Photo credit:

Top: AP via Fox News

Middle: WPTV

Bottom: Princess Cruises

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Comments (13) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Mike - December 23, 2012 6:01 AM

I self-reported to sick bay on the Crown at @ 0530 on 12.03 after vomiting at 0200 and 0500. I am prone to seasickness and forgot my scop. Since I had no diarrhea and two bouts of nausea and vomiting while at sea I assumed mal-de-mer and asked for some scop. I was told the boat DOES NOT STOCK SCOPALAMINE and I was further told to stay in medical or my stateroom until further notice. While quarantined I read the CDC's protocol for dealing with Norovirus and couldn't help but wonder why Princess was miles away from compliance. Case and point - my son was sleeping about five feet away from me but he was NOT confined. We did not get antibacterial gels, only a bar of soap for the sink and one for the shower which we shared. We also did not get paper towels but used towels that were at times in contact with each other in the bathroom. Furthermore, when my meals arrived in stateroom, the servers would - EVERY SINGLE TIME - use an ungloved hand to provide a pen for my signature and then with their ungloved hand, would put that pen back on the food trolley and continue their rounds. The CDC is so clear about what to do and it's like Princess isn't concerned about disease containment, only bad press containment. After missing Rome, Florence, Cannes, Nice etc. we left the boat in Barcelona and flew home to Galveston. My wife and son took a 20 day Holy Land tour with Princess last year and loved it. This trip however left my son a little shaken. Oh, also, medical officer Lauren called my stateroom after 3.5 days of lockdown and giggled when she said she knew where to find me. I literally told her to "go to hell" and disconnected. UNBELIEVABLE.

ITL - December 23, 2012 10:29 AM

I was aboard, and containment procedures were routinely violated. For example, in spite of complaints by myself and others, it took them four days to place hand cleaner dispenser stations at the entrance to the main dining rooms.

Also, the prevalence of disease on the ship was vastly higher than has been reported. The reason is that most people who became ill did not report it. Why? Because if you reported anything, you ended up quarantined in your cabin.

There was also quite a lot of upper respiratory disease.

We had at least one dead aboard, and also two people were taken off via a hovering coast guard helicopter for emergency medical evac.

Nancy - December 23, 2012 4:37 PM

We did two transatlantic cruises on the Crown this year (April and this one) and of the 31 nights, we spent 28 of them on Code Red for norovirus. Easy to see why -- the crew procedures are awful. On Dec. 17th, we watched an Internat'l cafe waitress cough into her hand, and then, without washing or disinfecting, pick up a serving tray, and serve two ceramic mugs and one to go cup. This was not an anomaly. It was rampant throughout the ship. They put us through the charade of Code Red while the MDR staff and Horizon Court beverage servers freely switched from picking up soiled dishes to serving passengers - all without any disinfection or gloving. Also, I'm sure many more than 6 crew members were sick. They just don't report it - for fear of employment repercussions. I know two of the Passenger Services desk staffers had runny noses but kept working. Daniel, the art auctioneer, was sick. Colin, the ACD, was getting sick toward the end. This ship needs to be drydocked and thoroughly fumigated.

Carol Crane - December 24, 2012 6:25 PM

I would like to add my 2 cents! My husband and I were on the Crown Princess cruise; boarding in Venice on Dec. 2nd. Prior to boarding, we spent 2 days in Venice with friends at the Hotel Boscolo. There was also another couple staying at the same hotel who were going on this cruise.
On the 2nd day of the cruise (Dec. 3rd), I began to experience nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. My husband went to the medical services on board at about the same time that the Captain announced there were passengers who had the norovirus. He described the symptoms and asked that anyone experiencing these call the medical services immediately, which I did. I was told that medical personnel would shortly be up to see me, but that there were also other passengers who had the virus.

A nurse practitioner by the name of Nathan came almost immediately to our stateroom. He was extremely helpful, giving antidiarrhea medication as well as medication to stop the vomitting. Nathan also gave me an injection, which was most effective in stopping the vomitting. Prior to his leaving, Nathan told us to order ginger ale and left a bland food menu. I was quarantined in my stateroom for 48 hours. A "hit squad" came to disinfect surfaces in the room and bathroom on a routine schedule. Also, someone from medical services called at least 3 times a day to determine how I was feeling. I was told to not go to the buffet.
We had booked a tour in Rome, but I was unable to leave the ship. However, I was reimbursed the money that was paid for this tour. When we arrived in Florence, I was still in quarantine.

The total medical bill was $106.00.

The spouse of one of the other couples who stayed at the same hotel in Venice also contracted the noro-virus and was quarantined.

I believe the crew did an awesome job of trying to contain the norovirus. Antibacterial gels were placed at every restaurant and in the International Cafe. The crew handling food wore latex gloves and according to my husband, who did go to the buffet, the food handlers wore gloves and would not allow passengers to get their own food.

I also contracted a nasty cold that lasted for the entire duration of the cruise.

Contrary to reports, the Crown Princess did not dock early because of the virus. We were scheduled to arrive in Galveston on Dec. 22nd.

Also, we don't really know why there were two emergency evacuations of passengers (one in Cannes and one in the gulf of Mexico). However, the captain had made an announcement requesting anyone with a black donor card with 0- or 0+ blood to report to medical services. A myriad of donors showed up. It was my understanding that the individual who needed the blood was the passenger that was air-lifted off the ship to New Orleans.

It was also my understanding that the gentleman who died had a heart attack and that he had an existing heart condition and was advised by his physician not to take the cruise.

Personally, I believe the Captain, crew and medical staff did everything humanly possible to control the situation and I was very grateful for the medical treatment.

ITL - December 25, 2012 3:30 AM

BTW, the pic above of the ship in Galveston in NOT the Crown Princess. Look at the funnel; that's a Carnival ship.

The Crown did dock on schedule, not early. Also, contrary to the post above, there were no hand sanitizer stations in at least two of the main restaurants for several days AFTER the implementation of the sanitary protocols. I made several complaints at the time about this issue.

Jim Walker - December 25, 2012 12:34 PM

The bottom image is taken by the bridge cam of the Crown Princess when it arrived in Galveston, and shows a Carnival ship to its bow.

Rudy S - December 26, 2012 3:45 PM

We were on the Cruise. Fortunately neither my wife or I got sick. And I agree with MS Crane. The Captain Andy and the Crew did a great job keeping the situation under control. We used gallons of hand sanitizer. And it paid off for us.

Mike - December 27, 2012 6:36 AM

Just as a follow-up, as regards the crew doing a fine job...perhaps, but those in charge of administering the CDC's protocol for dealing with norovirus outbreaks are negligible at worst and clueless at best. The CDC (and Princess Captain "Andy") clearly stated that norovirus is extremely contagious yet no bona-fide efficacious provisions are made to segregate the infected population from the non-infected. A "quarantine" is not a quarantine when unprotected people in close contact contact with the "quarantined" are allowed to freely circulate amongst the population at large. Clearly, I'm glad my son wasn't forced to share the cabin with me for the quarantine period - but he certainly should have been. If I did have NV, how many people did my son potentially contaminate?
Wiping elevator buttons and handrails DOES NOTHING when the wiping is followed by the handprints of an infected person! Given the extreme contagiousness of NV I would have agreed to quarantine my son as a precaution but I was never asked and when I saw the cursory wiping down (2x day in my cabin, not 3 or 4) of my stateroom and the ungloved exchange of plates and writing utensils with room service staff I began to think any purported adherence to CDC standards by Princess was merely for show.
Others clearly had a more rigorous application of anti-viral methodology applied in their situations - great! Our "containment" was laughable.

thomas turner - December 28, 2012 1:59 PM

i was on the ship and did not reconize the conditions as described. i had a great time and will be back on board when i get the money. i think we are a nation of wennies. you don't have to be on a ship to have diarriah(sp)or vomiting. get over it.

Laura - December 29, 2012 5:30 PM

My husband and I were also on this transatlanic crossing on the Crown. We think that the captain and staff did an excellent job cleaning and controlling the spread of noroviris. We saw hand sanitizer at all dining rooms and used it everytime we entered. We had a great cruise and look forward to our next one.

Joyce - February 3, 2013 2:06 PM

Can i just say, we are booked to sail on Crown princess at the end of April 2013 and we are looking forward to it.

I work in the NHS and alcohol gel has no effect on Norovirus, good old fashioned soap and water when washing your hands is what to use. You would be surprised at the amount of people that do not wash hands regularly and i would almost guarantee that it has been brought on board by a passenger as it is rife in the community. Once it gets a hold it is highly contageous and people need to be quarantined properly.

Barb Wolcott - April 17, 2013 11:08 AM

We have just been on the worst cruise of our life. I would suggest thinking twice about sailing on the CROWN PRINCESS(termed the "plague ship" by many). I believe Princess is cutting back on necessary sanitation on their ships. Norovirus is a constant problem on this ship.
I contracted the Norovirus 3 days after getting on the ship. Have never been so sick in my life. Many toilets in our section were inoperaable for most of the cruise. Passengers had to use to rest rooms on other floors. Sleep in our room(R524)was impossible. Late night & very early morning loud noises & "thunder" (which we later found was due to supply carts constantly going back and forth across the wood deck above). Management was indifferent and lied about measures being taken to rectify it (noise never stopped). Constant solicitation is a problem on this ship, they make the constant on shore sales pitches seem like nothing. Take any cruise other than the Carnival family of ships (Carnival, Costa, Princess, Cunard,HollandAmerica,Seaborn)

Belinda Hegarty - April 14, 2014 9:29 AM

So my 76yr. old Dad is in the hospital with the Norovirus from the Crown Princess Cruse that docked in San Diego last Sat. 4/5/14. He got off the ship and within 3 days he was so sick. His symptoms progressively got worse. He has been in the Hospital for 3 days now and is still very ill from it. What is the cruise line responsible for when 130 plus people are sick and more being reported. Can anyone tell me their responsibility?
Thanks....

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