The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas as the first cruise ship in 2011 to suffer gastrointestinal illness affecting more than 2% of the vessel’s passengers.
The CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program website has indicated that 150 of 2336 (6.42%) of the Royal Caribbean passengers reported being ill during the cruise on the Radiance from January 3 – 8, 2011. The CDC information on the Radiance can be seen here.
Tampa Local 13-News station has the headline "Sick Cruise Ship Docked at Tampa Port," indicating that vacationers on board suffered from vomiting and diarrhea. The illnesses will delay the ship from returning to sea later today. The station indicates that the cruise ship’s departure will be delayed approximately five hours, until 9:30 p.m., "so crews can sanitize the vessel."
The cruise line is advising cruise passengers who have recently experienced gastrointestinal illness should reschedule their cruise. The CDC is reporting that the cruise line’s response to the outbreak is "increased cleaning and disinfection procedures."
The CDC at this point has not determined whether norovirus is causing the outbreak, nor the source of the "causative factor." If norovirus is involved, most outbreaks of norovirus are from food and water, not by person to person contact as the cruise lines claim.
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."
When stories like this occur, the cruise lines blame the passengers and tell them to wash their hands. The cruise ships then spray cleaning fluids everywhere. But no one ever reveals whether the ship’s food and water have been tested and the results of the tests.
The Radiance of the Seas had norovirus outbreaks before. One passenger took this video of nasty looking tap water on the Radiance on a prior cruise. An equally disgusting video of brown water on a Carnival cruise ship is here.
But the winner of the gross-cruise-tap-water award goes to Carnival and is shown here.
Does anyone have video for this cruise?
Were you on the cruise? How did Royal Caribbean handle the situation?
January 8, 2010 Update:
Passengers on the cruise arre beginning to leave comments, below, that the ice may have been contaminated, that this was a "vacation from hell," and there were way more than 150 passenger sick. A few passengers say they still had a great time . . .
Photo credit: Tampa’s 13-News Station
Video credit: ABC News