Celebrity Cruises’ disastrous string of "diarrhea-cruises" out of South Carolina continues with the cruise line’s decision to return the Mercury to port in Charleston a day early.

USA Today’s Cruise Log reports that sickness has marred three straight voyages in "Celebrity to End Cruise Out of Charleston Early as Outbreak Continues."  Royal Caribbean indicates that 342 of the 1,829 passengers on the cruise ship became ill since the cruise began.  The article mentions that the cruise ship will skip its scheduled stop in Tortola British Virgin Islands and head straight back to the U.S.  The cruise ship will arrive in Charleston on Thursday.

Celebrity Mercury Cruise - Sick Ship?This is now the third cruise on the Mercury where passengers have become sickened with a gastrointestinal sickness.  

The USA Today article reads not unlike the typical cruise line press release – mentioning that norovirus is the most common cause of stomach illness in the U.S. and breaks out regularly in schools, nursing homes, and hospitals.  But the article does not inquire into the specific cause of this outbreak, nor question why three straight cruises have sickened passengers.

The report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on the Mercury’s last cruise does not even contain a conclusion regarding the "causative agent" for the sickness and is a week out of date.  If the CDC can’t pinpoint the type of virus or pathogen from last week’s cruise – why does anyone think that another round of "top-to-bottom" cleaning will make a difference?  

As we have reported in prior blogs,  the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concludes that whereas "person to person" transmission of norovirus has been documented, "norwalk gastroenteritis is transmitted by the fecal-oral route via contaminated water and foods."  The FDA reports that "water is the most common source of outbreaks and may include water from municipal supplies, well, recreational lakes, swimming pools, and water stored aboard cruise ships."

What are the test results of the cruise ship’s water supplies?  The Mercury is one of Celebrity’s oldest cruise ships, and is scheduled to leave the Royal Caribbean – Celebrity fleet later this year. Is there something wrong with this ship?  Is this a sick ship?


For prior articles:

Stomach Bug Hits Celebrity’s Mercury Cruise Ship Again

Will the Celebrity Mercury Infect Another Round of Passengers?

Celebrity Cruises Postpones Cruise From Charleston After Massive Norovirus Outbreak On Mercury Cruise Ship

Can Sick Cruise Ships Cause Norovirus Outbreaks in Ports?

Additional Passengers Sickened on Mercury Cruise Ship

Celebrity Cruises’ Mercury Returns to Port with 182 Sick Passengers – Sailing Postponed

"Cruise Ship Sickness" – Is Norovirus In The Food and Water?


Here is a statement from Celebrity Cruises / Royal Caribbean issued today:

During Celebrity Mercury’s current sailing, a number of guests onboard experienced a gastrointestinal illness, thought to be a norovirus.  Over the course of the sailing, crew onboard has been conducting enhanced cleaning, to help prevent the spread of the illness. 

While there was a decline in the spread of the illness during the sailing, in an abundance of caution, and in order to prevent additional guests and crew from becoming ill, we have decided to bypass Celebrity Mercury’s port of call today to Tortola, British Virgin Islands, and return to Charleston a day earlier than originally scheduled.  Celebrity Mercury will now arrive in Charleston early Thursday morning.  The enhanced cleaning of the ship, all of which is being done in close coordination with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will continue until the ship arrives in Charleston.

“I would like to apologize for the inconvenience this modified itinerary will cause our guests currently on Celebrity Mercury,” said Daniel Hanrahan, president and chief executive officer of Celebrity Cruises.  “I have made this decision to delay the sailing because we want to maintain our high health standards onboard our ships, while providing our guests with the best cruise experience possible.  The extra time we are taking to sanitize the ship will help prevent any additional guests from becoming ill.”

March 15, 2010 Update:

Centers for Disease Control: "Shut Mercury Cruise Ship Down!"

  • J Krause

    We are scheduled to sail on Friday the 19th on this ship. Very Concerned, not sure what to do. Suggestions? Oh, of course, we did not purchase cruise insurance so we will loose several thousand dollars if we just do not show up.

  • B. Roberts

    If you cancel. do you get your money back??

  • elizabeth quigley

    we are sailing on this ship (Mercury) on March 29th, and are very concerned about our health. we are in our 80’s and are frightened to go. we love cruising and have been on celebrity at least 18 times. maybe the water is the problem or the crew keeps giving it to the new passengers. will we get a full refund if something does happen that we catch this terrible bug?

  • Jim Walker

    Ms. Quigley:

    The CDC has not identified the “causative agent” for the outdreak on the last Mercury cruise. Is it norovirus? Maybe, that’s what the CDC concluded for the past two outbreaks. But there has been no determination whether the norovirus came from other passengers, the crew, or contaminated food or water.

    Celebrity has been compensating sick passengers a shipboard credit for each day confined to the cabin plus a 25% coupon on another cruise.

    Hope you have a safe and healthy cruise . . .

  • Charles T. Herring

    We just got back from this cruise March 18th (one day early) and we were ready to come home. Don’t believe the official count of sickness on this boat, I became ill on the second night out around 2 AM. At around
    8 AM, my wife called for medical attention and was told they would be to see us in our cabin. We waited. At 5 PM, my wife called medical again and were told they had no record of our calling earlier but the medical crew was on its way around the ship and they would be to our cabin soon. As of today, March 19th., no one from medical has seen me yet unless they saw me passing in the hallways. I heard of many others who were sick and were not seen as well.
    My suggestion if you decide to go, carry your own medication with you and be prepared to quaranteen yourself to protect others while you are sick if you do get sick. Room service is good.

  • Edward Van Wert

    My wife and I are scheduled to go to Bermuda on May 2 aboad the Summit. We will celebrate my 80th birthday. We hope we do not encounter the Murcury sickness. This will be our 12th cruise, many with Celebrity.

    While we have an outside stateroom, we are in hopes to be upgraded to a stateroom with a balcony.

    Edward W. Van Wert PHD

  • Linda

    We are to cruise tomorrow, the 29th. Any word of illness on the current cruise that sailed on March 21?

  • Jim Walker


    Thanks for your inquiry.

    Here is our last article regarding the Mercury:

    “Norovirus Update on Celebrity’s Mercury Cruise Ship – March 21st Sailing” http://bit.ly/bEcNyx

    Hope you have a healthy and enoyable cruise!

  • Sherrill williams

    I came off the OOsterdam and found mold on the drapes, which they said they would come and use chemicals to remove,why was that not done prior and many other dirty things.Yes I complained and then no one spoke English any more..They pack at least five employees to a cabin pay them nothing they do not get the clean thing Talk TO The Cruise LInes they know why this happens .UNCLEAN LINING CONDITIONS FOR THE EMPLOYEES!!That is why they register out of controlled countries and get cheap health. Take a look around does your cabin really seam clean, and how many people were on that bed before you, they only wash sheets when pressed to do so…Stop thinking the cruise is such a bargin!!!!!!!