Report of Gastrointestinal Sickness Outbreak on Celebrity Infinity Disappears: Honest Mistake or Diabolical Cover-Up?

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I find lots of information about things that the cruise lines would prefer you not know on Professor Ross Klein's website called CruiseJunkie.com.  A silly name I know, but the information is quite serious if you are interested in accurate information about cruise passengers and crew who disappear under mysterious circumstances, fires and collisions, and disease outbreaks on the high seas.  There is no other credible website like this anywhere which tracks such information in the cruise industry. 

Yesterday Professor Klein's website contained information about a gastrointestinal illness (GI) outbreak aboard the Celebrity Infinity cruise ship. He linked to the CDC Vessel Sanitation website which contained a report that 101 of 2086 passengers (4.84%) and 17 of 927 crew (2.05%) have reported ill Celebrity Infinity Cruise Shipwith gastrointestinal illness. Two CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officers and an epidemiologist boarded the ship on arrival in Fort Lauderdale on April 1, 2013 to conduct a targeted environmental health assessment and evaluate the outbreak and response activities. 

But when I clicked on the link to the CDC information, the website said:

"The page you requested cannot be found at this time. It may be temporarily unavailable or it may have been removed."

So what happened?  I don't know. 

Professor Klein questions whether this is a mistake of some sort or whether there is a cover-up at play.

Again I don't know. But I do know after being a lawyer for 30 years that there is a very cozy relationship between the cruise lines and federal agencies like the CDC whose surprise inspections are hardly a surprise. And last year it became obvious that after Congress passed a law requiring the cruise lines to report crimes to the FBI which had to post the data on a Coast Guard website for the public to view, these federal agencies worked behind the scenes with the cruise lines to cover the crime statistics up.  

So what's up with the CDC posting a GI outbreak and then the information disappearing?

Celebrity has had difficulties with its shipboard sanitation this year with the Summit and the Century failing CDC inspections for health and sanitation.  

Is the removal of the report of the outbreak aboard the Celebrity Infinity a mistake or is something else more sinister going on?

I'd like to hear from passengers and crew members whether there was a recent gastrointestinal illness or norovirus outbreak on the Celebrity Infinity?  Please let us know.

Am I being overly-suspicious? Maybe so. But I'd rather be paranoid than a naive sap who looks the other way while another federal agency and a cruise line play games behind the public's back.

April 7 2013 9:30 PM: The CDC report on the Celebrity Infinity has reappeared. Here it is.  Celebrity Cruises has the dubious distinction of 2 failed CDC inspections and a GI outbreak for 2013.

 

 

Photo Credit: Celebrity Infinity  - Wikipedia / Yankeesman312

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Comments (8) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
NMoore - April 8, 2013 1:28 PM

Ok I'm going to sound totally neurotic here, but I've been following the CDC reports for the last 3 years , and it seems ( to me at least ) that the number one ports in the US for norovirus related issues are Ft. lauderdale, and Port Everglades, year after year ! I also notice that there are about 3 cruise lines out of those ports who consistently have norovirus outbreaks. Again , I know this is neurotic, but i wonder if anyone looks at the role hotels may or may not have in contributing to these outbreaks. Sorry that this isn't quite on point with the topic.

Michael Voight - April 8, 2013 11:43 PM

Come on, really.. How long was the info missing.
It's not a conspiracy between the cruise line and CDC.
You reported it "missing" on April 7, and your reported it back on April 7. Website glitches like this are not limited to ones for the federal government.

Claire - April 11, 2013 8:41 AM

My husband and I have just come off celebrity solstice which sailed in Australia departing on the 28th march. What we thought was a good trip as we had done 4 cruises before but this was our first celebrity cruise has turned into disaster. At the end of the trip my husband was sick on the Friday. He thought just to lie down on Saturday as it was a bit rough however, Sunday came and he was on fire. Burning up, dry cough and vomited once more. Went to the ships doctor to be told bronchitis which cost $172.00 with antibiotics. We disembarked on Monday and my husband was deteriorating more. Tuesday at 4.30pm an ambulance was called as my husband could not breath, chest pains and burning up. His temperature hit 39.3 and deteriorating badly. He has been diagnosed with a viral numonia in the left lung and is still in hospital. His blood count has not come down and they are still trying to work out the infection. I have also got the signs of this viral infection and I am on antibiotics and very Ill but not to the extent on which my husband has it. After all this what we once were cruise lovers, however we will never cruise again as this has impacted my husbands health. Nice ship, but bad doctors diagnosis and sanitary issues obviously.

M. Baker - April 12, 2013 12:44 PM

I was a passenger on the Infinity ship that arrived in Fort Lauderdale on April 1. Yes, I did contract the Norovirus during mid-cruise. I received very good care from the ship's doctor and was isolated in my room for two days. I observed all of the protocols set in place by the ship and recovered quickly. The ship personnel were very conscientious about reminding passengers about proper hand-washing procedures. They were constantly scouring the ship and also had crew members stationed around the ship with hand sanitizers. Although my illness sort of took the wind out of our sails and affected our enjoyment of the remaining cruise days, I cannot fault the staff for their conduct.

However, I do have one concern. While I was isolated in our room, a steward came to spray the room with some sort of disinfectant. Although no explanation was given about the chemicals being used in this disinfectant, I was told I could not refuse to have the room thoroughly spayed. I complied, even though the steward doing the spraying was wearing a cotton face mask, but I was not provided with one.
I was assured there were no harmful chemical in the disinfectant, but I am suspicious. Does this spraying really do any good?

Towards the end of the cruise, while the ship was docked in Colon, Panama, and the majority of the passengers were away on excursions, all the halls and every cabin on the ship was sprayed with the disinfectant. The person spraying our room and hallway was wearing a hazmat suit and breathing aparatus. The wide spread spaying was done without informing passengers beforehand that their rooms would be sprayed, and no mention of it was made later when the passengers returned. I happened to be aware of this because my husband and I did not take an excursion, but remained on board that day. When the crew came down the hall to spray our I room, the head of house keeping happened to by present. We questioned him about this procedure and he was very courteous, informative and reassuring, saying there was nothing harmful in the chemical spray. None the less, I requested a linen change following the spraying of our room, since I did not look forward to sleeping in sheets that had been spayed with an unfamiliar chemical.

My questiond are these:
Does anyone think passengers should have been informed of a mass spaying?

Does anyone know what is in the disinfectant?

Does anyone know the safety of the chemicals contained in the spray?

Is such spaying effective?

Is it recommended by the CDC?

Has anyone else ever complained or inquired about this procedure?

I also noticed the lack of anyone checking the bacteria count of the Infinity's two pools. Is a staff member assigned to do this?
I believe the pools are a great place for bacteria and viruses to grow and spread, and tighter oversight is needed.

Needless to say, this was our last cruise on Celebrity. We will not return.

We are frequent cruisers, but this was our first experience with the Norovirus. I am happy to have discovered this blog so I can keep up with the latest developments in the cruise industry.

Jo - April 23, 2013 11:56 PM

I have just read Claire's blog regarding her husband being very ill with a viral pneumonia whilst travelling on Celebrity Solstice, March 28th out of Sydney. My family were on that cruise and my husband and I (husband worse) contracted a nasty pneumonia. It started with gastric symptoms (nausea, vomiting, headache) and then moved to the chest. Dry cough, lethargy, temperatures, headaches, etc etc. We are healthy, young (compared to the average age of guests on this cruise) and this illness has knocked us for 6! My husband in particular has been affected for nearly 4 weeks!
Have there been lots of cases of this outbreak?

Denise - April 26, 2013 12:17 AM

My husband and I have just disembarked in Honolulu off the Celebrity Solstice. There was an outbreak of Norovirus on the ship which left Sydney on April 8th 2013. We did manage to avoid getting the GI bug, which we were told by other passengers that it helped to claim the life of an elderly passenger. We both contracted a severe respiratory bug and my husband is still trying to recover from it. I am worried he may now have pneumonia as he isn't recovering as I did. We'll see how he goes. There was a lot of talk on the ship about the virus and we sanitised profusely and the pools were emptied and scrubbed and refilled. Sounds to me from this blog that the virus is on the ship( maybe in staff quarters) and it just keeps infecting each new lot of unsuspecting cruise passengers. In saying all this though, we did have a very relaxing time and the food is fantastic and staff obliging. Lets hope Celebrity can find a way to stop these outbreaks happening repeatedly. It's a great ship with great entertainment and it's a shame this is happening

P Vincent - April 29, 2013 7:17 AM

I don't know if there was an actual illness on board Infinity but I do know that passengers embarking at Fort Lauderdale on April 1, were delayed for 2 hours due to disinfecting the ship due to Norovirus. The ship was declared OK after 3 days but the disinfection prograsmme did not delay the sailing date.

Paul Vincent

N. Schranz - June 18, 2013 1:49 PM

We ware also passenger on the Infinity ship that arrived in Fort Lauderdale on April 1. And I did contract the Norovirus the 25. March, and did feel sick the rest of the cruise. The last night, I remember, I was standing in the bathroom and was thirsty, but afraid to drink water from the water-tap, but the minibar was locked. After when I waked up and I was lying on the floor. I think, it could help, if there is fresh bottle-water in the rooms for everybody, also on the tables in the dining room. I think, the ice water on the tables cane also be a problem. My husband did had gastric symptoms the last two days.

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