Viral Outbreak Delays Departure of Cruise Ship From Liverpool

The Daily Post in the U.K. reports that a gastrointestinal virus outbreak has delayed the departure of a cruise ship from Liverpool.

The cruise ship involved is the MV Discovery which was scheduled to depart on a Norwegian cruise last night at 6:30 PM but was delayed until 10:30 PM while a "deep clean" was performed. 

I have always been skeptical about how a cruise ship can be disinfected in just 4 hours. 

Discovery Cruise ShipOne passenger, who described being treated like a leper, said: "I was on a ship which had norovirus and in the end it took four days to clean it, so I cannot see how four hours will help."

But a representative of the operating company said that 3 hours was "exactly the amount of time needed."  It's hard to fathom how anyone can say that with a straight face, particularly considering that the type of virus is unknown, the source of the virus is unknown, and the precise location of the virus is always a mystery.  

As usual, the cruise company also blamed the passengers: 

Paul Foster, speaking on behalf of Cruise and Maritime Voyages, said: "It’s one of those things that are brought on board by passengers. I always say a ship cannot get a sore throat."

But that simply not true. There are such things as "sick ships."  Cruise ships and their food and water supplies can become contaminated with a wide variety of viral and bacterial diseases such as Legionnaires Disease, norovirus, e-coli, and unspecified gastrointestinal viruses. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ({FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that the most likely source of a norovirus outbreak is contaminated food or water. Yes, a virus can be spread by bad hygiene of either passengers or crew, but usually the source of the outbreaks starts with something like noro-laden food or water.

The Discovery was launched in 1972 and is a 40 year old ship. It was formerly the Island Venture, Island Princess, Hyundai Pungak and Platinum

The cause of any particular outbreak is the business of expert epidemiologists - not cruise CEO's or Cruise Directors who are quick to point the finger at the passengers.  

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / yeldark

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Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Neill Sharer - May 8, 2013 9:35 AM

Norovirus control is a combination of preventative measures, including "hassling", passenger screening, and, a measure of luck. Note that there is norovirus in the general population (an estimated 4%), with an estimated 30% being asymptomatic. So, its control is multi-pronged, and anchored by proper food safety education.

Robert Lewis - May 13, 2013 9:27 AM

My wife and I sailed on discovey in April on day 3, I went down with sickness , which was confirm by the medical staff on board as noro virus, we were kepted prinsor in our cabins for rest of cruise, my wife coming down with the same symptons a few days later.

We have put in a claim for a refund but still waiting a reply, this ship has had NV on board since she started back in service, I wonder if these cases are fully reported to port health on her return to UK ports?

Have we a case for refunds?

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