With the Explorer of the Seas sailing back to New Jersey with almost 650 victims of norovirus related nausea and diarrhea, Time magazine just published the article Cruise Out of Control: The 13 Worst Norovirus Outbreaks on Cruise Ships.
The worst outbreak is, of course, Royal Caribbean's Explorer but the cruise line and its sister line Celebrity Cruises have the top three worst outbreaks and five of the top 13 worst outbreaks.
The passengers and crew aboard the Celebrity Mercury suffered through outbreaks on five consecutive sailings back in 2000, including 443 sick in February 2000 and 419 in March. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finally issued a rare no-sail order because the ship kept infecting the passengers and the cruise line wouldn't stop sailing.
The overall winner of Time's top 13 list is Princess Cruises which had five outbreaks on its brand alone: Crown Princess (January 2010) - 396; Crown Princess (February 2012) - 363; Ruby Princess (March 2013) - 276; Coral Princess (February 2009) - 271; and Sun Princess (July 2012) - 216.
The disturbing thing about the list is that the Centers for Disease Control were unable to publish a single conclusion about where the norovirus came from. The public is left with the "blame game" of wondering whether the cruise ship food or water was contaminated, or the outbreak was caused by a sick galley worker, or was brought aboard by sick passengers and then spread because of inadequate hygiene.