The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that over 600 people have been sickened by the gastrointestinal illness outbreak on the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas, CNN reports.
The Royal Caribbean cruise ship left Cape Liberty, New Jersey on January 21, 2014 for a 10 day cruise through the Caribbean. The ship missed a stop at its private stop in Labadee Haiti after the outbreak. It sailed to San Juan to be cleaned.
The CDC initially stated that over 300 people (281 passengers and 22 crew members) were ill. (Its official report is here with the new statistics). However, over the weekend we began to hear reports from passengers that the number of people suffering from nausea and diarrhea had increased to to over 450 and, now, to over 600.
CNN quotes a spokeswoman with the CDC that more than 600 people on the ship have become ill, reporting vomiting and diarrhea. The CDC spokeswoman said 564 passengers and 47 crew members reported being ill.
Royal Caribbean is ending the cruise two days early. The cruise line will "use the extra time to sanitize the ship even more thoroughly."
We have been contacted by guests on this ill fated cruise as well passengers from the prior cruise who became ill.
Passengers who contacted Royal Caribbean say that the cruise line is not considering refunds of any type.
We previously reported on the incident in our article: Puke Fest Aboard Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas.
There has been no official word from the CDC whether this is in fact norovirus, although the symptoms are consistent with the virus. The cruise lines invariably blame the passengers, but the CDC has never in my experience ever pin-pointed the exact source of an outbreak like this.
NBC News raises the issue whether the outbreak on the Explorer is linked to a nasty new type of norovirus known as the GII 4 Sydney strain which caused an outbreak on the Queen Mary 2.
Join our discussion on Facebook about why norovirus outbreaks occur on cruise ships.