The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a rare no-sail advisory for Celebrity Cruises’ Mercury cruise ship.  The CDC has instructed Celebrity not to sail the sick cruise ship until Sunday in order to permit its inspectors to investigate the ongoing outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness. 

Over the course of the last month, hundreds of passengers have become sick on the Mercury over the course of its last three sailings. 

Cruise Ship Norovirus - CDC - Centrers for Disease ControlAccording to CNN, members of the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) boarded the cruise ship looking for causes of the latest wave of illness.

Although the CDC determined that norovirus was the cause of the outbreaks for the first two sailings, the CDC could not determine the type of pathogen for the latest outbreak on the Mercury.

A no-sail advisory is an extreme step.  Its like a city inspector shutting down a dirty restaurant for code violations which pose a health hazard to the city residents. 

The Mercury has been a sailing nightmare for the past month.  First, a half dozen crew members were sickened in what the cruise line thought was carbon monoxide poisoning –  Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Reported Aboard Celebrity’s Mercury Cruise Ship – when the cruise ship returned to port in Baltimore.  After the ship was re-positioned to South Carolina, all cruises have been plagued by what many call "cruise ship sickness."

The Mercury is an old ship and Royal Caribbean / Celebrity will be selling it later this year. 

For a chronology of the diseased ship, read our blogs over the past month regarding the Mercury.

March 16, 2010 Update:

USA Today reports: "Celebrity to Offer Full Refunds to Passengers on Delayed Mercury Cruise"


Cruise Cleaners      "Cruises: Norovirus Questions & Answers


  • Laurie French

    We sailed on this ship through the Panama Canal last January 2009 and three of the four of us traveling got the norovirus. While the staff handled things professionally and the medical staff was top notch, it was a goat rodeo on the ship and more people were sickened than the management let on. We were quarantined to our cabin for 48 hrs. (standard policy) and refunded for the two full days, as well as given credit for $800 toward another cruise. We are sailing on Celebrity to Alaska in September and will continue to use them for travel—-it could probably happen on any ship but the Mercury seems to be pretty doomed!

  • Sandra Goldsby

    I considering traveling on the Mercury in Aug. to Alaska. Any info on what the status is of the ships problems with sickness on board?
    Thanks for any help.

  • Jim Walker


    Thank you for your email.

    You can check on outbreaks on the web site for Centers for Disease:

    It looks like the last outbreak was in March.

    You probably will be fine, but I would check with the CDC website from time to time.

    Enjoy your cruise!

  • Kathryn Guilford

    I sailed on the Mercury’s last sailing to Alaska in September 2010 and was sick with gastroenteritus. I was quarantined and lost three major days of my holiday. They gave me a credit of $677 to use this year but as I live in the Canadian Prairies it will cost me $2000 to use it and they made sure it was non-transferable so it probably won’t be used. I seem to remember in a forum I read last year that Mr. Halrahan said anybody quarantined on a celebrity ship will be refunded in cash. I was quarantined from Wednesday morning until Saturday morning. When I sent a copy of the forum the statement was ignored and all I got was an apology for missing the main part of the vacation and the credit which I cannot afford to use.
    Kathryn Guilford