Norovirus on Diamond Princess: How is Princess Cruises Handling the Outbreak?

Diamond Princess NorovirusA newspaper in New Zealand is reporting that 60 cruise passengers aboard a Princess cruise ship which sailed from Australia have been infected with the dreaded norovirus. They have been suffering from vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. 

The newspaper is stating that cleaners are working to sanitize the Diamond Princess before the next group of passengers board. 

Check-in has been delayed as the extra cleaning has been taking place. 

One passenger expressed serious reservations about the upcoming cruise. The thousands-of-dollars cruise vacation can't be cancelled because there was no chance of a refund, he said.

The newspaper correctly points out that norovirus can be transmitted through infected food or water, person-to-person contact, and surface contact.

If you were on the cruise, is the estimate of 60 ill passengers accurate?

What, exactly, is Princess saying about refunds?

How did the cruise line handle the outbreak?

 

Photo Credit:  Wikipedia / Barrylb

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Comments (11) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Vaughan - January 15, 2014 7:26 PM

I was a passenger onboard the Diamond Princess cruise that was involved in the norovirus this past week.

The Captain advised during the cruise that the norovirus had been detected and he also clearly updated passengers. The last update advised that less than 2% had reported to the Medical facilities. He also reminded guests about personal hygiene.

The Captain and crew handled the entire matter professionally and once the outbreak was detected, there was a change in food service delivery. Areas were always clean throughout the cruise.

People need to take some responsibility for their own hygiene to reduce the chance of these types of incidences occurring. Washing hands thoroughly is the first step. Unfortunately these types of infections can occur anywhere but are magnified when on board a ship for 12 days.

This was a great cruise aboard Diamond from Sydney to Auckland over the past 12 days. The entire Princess staff were fantastic, friendly and professional at all times and made for a memorable cruise.

Priscila - January 15, 2014 9:01 PM

Well... I got norovirus once... but since I was working and touching everybody's cruise cards and so, it was hard to keep my hands clean all the time.

But the passengers, I understand they need to keep they hygene as well!! We provide them alchool gel around the ship and everytime we board the ship, but some of them don't use and if you spray in their hands they will clean their hands in their pants!!

If they really wash their hands after using the bathroom (and we know a lot of those old people don't do!!), they would prevent diseases...

No refunds sounds fair... maybe a discount on the next cruise then.

Kelly - January 15, 2014 10:05 PM

I was on this cruise and thought the whole trip was fantastic. It is hardly the company's fault if someone brings on the virus. I feel bad for those who contracted it, but the captain advised that it was less than 2%. I didn't get sick and don't know anyone who did. The hygiene methods by staff obviously had the desired affect, with no reported illness on the last day. The staff were absolutely fantastic and I don't think there is anything else they could have done.

Terry T - January 15, 2014 10:21 PM

I was also on board Diamond Princess cruise. The captain noted that it was a total of 2 percent of the passengers and crew members, when you factor in the crew members also 2 percent is a very high number. What Vaughn is missing from his comment is the fact that crew members were sick and in quarantine prior to the diamond arriving in Sydney to pick us up. The captain handled the situation appropriately by implementing sanitation procedures and no self service, however he should have done that immediately from the port in Sydney. due to the delay in implementing these procedures it allowed the spread of a virus that was already on board the boat. Also d procedures focused on the passenger's as being the method of infection, when it was clear that the vector for this disease were the crew members. even after sanitation procedures we're implemented they focused on the passenger's only and if you watched the staff many of them we're cleaning dirty dishes and serving clean ones and using the same pins over and over again without any hand washing or use of hand sanitizer. So tell me again who was spreading the disease aboard the boat? and why were sanitation procedures not implemented sooner? as we were given notification of norovirus in Australia upon arrival for the overland excursion a week prior to the boat trip.

Nigel - January 16, 2014 3:12 AM

My family and I were on this cruise. Unfortunately for my elder daughter, she was one of the 2% ! She threw up while having dinner on day 4. The affected area was cordoned off straightaway, the medical team alerted, and our cabin sprayed and wiped, all within 30 mins. The medics confined my daughter to our cabin for 24 hours and suggested a special "light" room service menu. They rang several times to check how she was getting on (and probably to make sure she stayed in the cabin!). We even received complimentary laundry service for my daughter. Very well handled.

Apart from that incident, it was a thoroughly memorable maiden cruise for us. Great food, fantastic choices of entertainment.

Jess - January 18, 2014 4:16 PM

I was a passenger on this cruise and to answer the first question in this article, two percent certainly isn't an accurate estimation of the number of infected persons on board. This may have been the number of people who reported it (although many passengers believed the crew were trying to downplay it) but it was obvious that there were several people on board who were sick and hadn't reported it. I overheard conversations between family members to confirm this and had others tell me that they know people who didn't report it due to fear of a lock down in their room whilst on holidays. Also, one of the sea days, I noticed someone laying around the pool on a sun chair with thief family members fussing over them whilst they appeared very unwell. I think the staff should have reported people, as if we were pointing out infected persons then surely trained cruise staff could spot the signs also.
I agree with the above poster who said that something should have been done earlier, also I know there would have been some people who contracted the virus early on but didn't realise they should have reported it as they thought that the sickness would just have to run its course, which meant that they were out there infecting others.
As for my experience, I travelled in a large group and 50% of us contracted this virus (not me personally). Also to the person who said that there were no new cases on the last days of sailing, this is also incorrect, as two from our party did within the last 48hrs of the cruise (you only had to go to the disembarkation set up for infected passengers, who ended up being mixed in with the general public anyway, to see the numbers who were still sick), the captain just stopped making announcements with progress updates but this doesn't mean the problem was fixed. I know we all exercise high levels of personal hygiene so my travel buddies can't be blamed personally for getting sick, on a cruise sometimes it can't be avoided. I am upset that between us 9 cruise days were lost due to this bug and also prebooked tours were cancelled as the infected person couldn't go, the fact that no compensation was offered when you look at it like that, is terrible! Some of the people I travelled with now feel like they need to go again to see the things they missed, it's not their fault that a bug was allowed on board. Yes they did put in place some control measures but more could have been done!

Debbie - January 18, 2014 9:38 PM

We were on the cruise were the noro virus was detected, my husband and myself have traveled overseas on several occasions, especially in Asia and Bali and during those holidays my husband has never been effected by any stomach problems (where I have been affected several times) on the final night on the ship my husband became very ill and we were very concerned how he was going to get off the ship without being sick and needing to visit a toilet, we contacted the medical centre and were told to stay in the cabin and that someone would come and clean the room, two men turned up and gave us new towells, we ask about how we would leave the ship and they said that they didn't know, so we rang the medicinal centre again and was informed to stay in the room and we would be the last to get off the ship at 9.30am. At 9.30 there was announcement that the last people should be leaving the ship (didn't mentioned not the people that were sick and quarantine) as we were presenting our cruise cards my husband card made a different sound and my son in law who was behind us and was also sick card did the same noise the staff member ask another staff member what that meant and he said that they shouldn't be leaving the ship, to which one of the staff members said well it's the last day and they have to get off. We were staying in auckland till Saturday, hoping to have a good look around only for my husband to be to sick to leave the motel room.

Jackie - January 19, 2014 5:30 PM

I travelled with my sister and mother and father on this same cruise. A week into the cruise my father, who embarked on the cruise in a healthy state, became very ill with the norovirus. He was confined to his cabin for 4 days, 3 of which were the 3 ports of call in New Zealand before Auckland. He was unable to see any of these ports. I also missed getting off the boat in Port Chalmers and Akaroa because someone had to stay with him. We had tours booked which we had to cancel. To finish off a very disappointing cruise, which incidently was my parents first experience of cruising, we received a medical bill for over $1800, which was more than the cost of the ticket for the cruise. I will be seeking compensation for this very disappointing experience. One of my concerns with this cruise was the fact that why did the cruise wait for people to become sick before putting safety precautions in place. I believe it would have been much wiser to have these precautions, such as crew handling the food and utensils in the Horizon Court, salt and pepper shakers removed and handing out cutlery and plates in place from the beginning of the cruise.

John Richard Petersen - January 19, 2014 5:37 PM

So sad to hear these stories of people getting ill, and how horrible that some people would be so selfish, refusing to admit they were ill, as to not be confined to their room, only to get others ill.

My partner and parents and I spent a week at Disneyworld. It was a prize my mother won. A trip to Disneyworld for four. I slept the entire week in the motel room. It was beyond disappointing but when your body is ill all you want to do is sleep until you feel better.

Sad that refunds were not issued for excursions or vacations but isn't this where VACATION INSURANCE is supposed to kick in? Surely those who got ill should have been reimbursed by the insurance company as long as they had travel insurance OR AM I WRONG?

Did any of you who traveled on the ship and had any of your party get ill, have travel insurance and submit claims?

Jackie - January 19, 2014 10:06 PM

In response to John, yes we do have travel insurance and are in the process of completing a claim. The insurance will provide some money for the medical bills but not for the fact that 4 days of the cruise was missed by being confined to the cabin. I also need to point out that the Diamond Princess did credit us for not only my father missing out on the tours but also myself. The cost of the tours was returned to us. Unfortunately it was the experience that we missed out on and as my father is 85 I don't see him having the opportunity to do this again.

Cornelia - January 28, 2014 4:48 PM

My husband and I were on the cruise from Sydney to Aukland. I got the illness 3 days before we disembarked.I called the sick bay when I felt poorly and they said I wasn't condsidered sick until I had vomitted 3 times. An hour later I met their requirements and got medication to prevent vomiting and diarrhea. I was not impressed with the sanitizing of our bathroom as traces could still be seen after the cleaning..I did direct them to missed places but later saw more...My tours were not refunded 100%..We were escorted off the ship with luggage at 9:45 after the other passengers had disembarked. I was disappointed that Princess did not offer at least a partial refund or discount on a future cruise.

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