The Centers for Disease Control ("CDC") report that 118 of the 2,730 passengers aboard the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship have reported to the ship’s medical facility with vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms of gastrointestinal illness.

The Solstice is currently on a 14 day cruise and will return to Fort Lauderdale on December 11, 2011.

Pursuant to the CDC Vessel Sanitation Program, environmental health officers and an epidemiologist will board the cruise ship, once it returns to Fort Lauderdale tomorrow, in order assess the outbreak and the cruise line’s response activities.

It has been our experience over the years that the "official" CDC numbers of ill passengers and crewmembers is usually less than the true number of those afflicted with viral illnesses.  This is because many sick passengers know that they will be quarantined in their cabins or they simply do not want to wait in the long lines outside of the ship infirmary.  Often, sick crewmembers are Celebrity Solstice - Cruise Ship Sicknesspressed to work notwithstanding their sicknesses.  

We wrote about the problem of under reporting last year when the Celebrity Mercury experienced a prolonged outbreak of norovirus: Is Celebrity Cruises Under-Reporting Sicknesses to the CDC?

This is not the first time the Solstice has experienced an outbreak this year.  In January and February, there were norovirus outbreaks on the Solstice with one passenger dying due to exposure to the virus. 

Celebrity Cruises has experienced other bouts of widespread illnesses in 2011.  Over 100 passengers became sick on the Millennium in May of this year. 

Not all gastrointestinal outbreaks are documented with the CDC.  The cruise lines do not have to report the outbreaks when the cruise ship does not call on a U.S. port.  In September, norovirus broke out on Celebrity’s Eclipse sailing out of Southampton, England.  You will find no mention of it in the official CDC database.

Earlier this week, we discussed Is there a Cure for the Cruise Ship Virus?

If you were on the Solstice and have something to add to this story, please leave a comment below.  Was the sickness more widespread than reported?  How did the cruise line handle the situation?   


Photo credit:  Examiner

  • Mary

    Yes, I agree that if the toilets are scrubbed down on a daily basis with a REAL disinfectant, it would keep this virus at least to a minimum. Perhaps it would lessen the chances of yet another new guest entering that stateroom (“sick bay”) becoming ill and perpetuating this virus again and again. The other factor is grounding these “sick” ships for a week to cleanse them but we know this will never happen. With the large revenue this industry generates it can’t afford to do this on a semi-regular basis. My husband and I are going on another Celebrity Cruise in Feb. 2012 and hope that this will be all over with by then. We have been most fortunate on their ships to have stayed healty. So you’re sick for a few days, the way they see it is this too will pass!!!

  • herb

    I was one of the 118 who were sick.
    In the immediate area of my hallway, there were 5 other cases that I was aware of.

  • John Vallance

    Your artical is right on.
    My wife and I disembarked Dec 11/11 having been ill for many days of the 14 day trip.
    This was a transatlantic cruise from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale. To be offered an alternative after we had flown to Barcelona was silly. An offer before we left would have been resonable.

    We will probably never travel with Celebrity again.

  • Norma and Seymour Hurwitz

    We traveled on the Celebrity Solstice on the Transatlatic from November 28 through December 11.We boarded in Barcelona Spain and before boarding we notified that there was a virus and they were sanitizing and notified we can make other arrangements and reschedule our trip. Once we arrive in Barcelona there was no option but to board the ship. We were far from home. The sixth day of the cruise I was sick with the virus. A nurse came to my cabin and gave me an injection and sent liquids to my room and I was quarantined for 30 hours and missed my tour of the Azores. My husband also had the virus a couple of days later but not as intense as mine. He was also quarantined but not as long as I was. We both did not feel well for many days after the virus. My husband lost 5 pounds on a cruise. We usually gain weight on a cruise. We were looking forward to disembarking from the ship in Ft. Lauderdale. On many of our other trips we felt sad to leave the ship. We have reached Elite Status.

    I do not know when we will cruise again.

  • Catherine Wigle

    I was on the Solstice that sailed from Fort Lauderdale on Dec 18th, 2011.

    I had been hearing rumors of people being sick, and wasn’t sure of the truth to it until I became violently ill early this morning (our disembarkation day). I’m curious if anyone else was sick? If so, have you been diagnosed with norovirus? I am wondering if it was a norovirus or food poisoning from dinner on the 25th. I had the pot au feu.

  • Judy Boyle

    My son was very sick on the 25th.

  • Melissa Zachariasz

    My family is currently on the celebrity solstice, my daughter and nanny are both ill and in quarantine! the staff has been horribly rude, scared my daughter to death i’m trying to get my family off this ship. The security officer assaulted me and my family. I’m going to be pressing charges against Celebrity and their security officer Guy Sele .

  • Trudy Ward

    I was on the Celebrity Solstice which departed Auckland on Dec 9th on a cruise around NZ. The ship was suffering from an outbreak of the norovirus. I fell foul of the virus on the Milford Sound leg. I attempted to seek medical attention but after spending 15 minutes in the waiting room of the medical centre, surrounded by people wearing masks I felt more at threat than confining myself to our cabin. My husband was not infected. It destroyed our holiday. I w as confined to our cabin for the balance of the cruise which was an inside cabin and did not experience any fresh air. My husband was annoyed that there had not been an official report of what the virus was and complained to guest relations. If there is a virus infecting a ship, the type of virus should be announced to all passengers so they know what they are dealing with. As a coincidence guest relations advised that this had been done on the day of his complaint but the virus was running rampant for 4 to 5 days prior to this. If the Solstice has a record of this virus contaminating the ship guests should be alerted to this! Celebrity Cruise lines will have to do better than this to get us back on the ship.

  • Mary & Danny Savage

    Disembarked from Sydney on 18th Jan 2015 after a 14 day cruise. Both felt unwell that day and have spent the last 4 days in bed with flu like symptons. I am recovering slightly but my Husband is still quite ill and after visiting our GP he has fluid on the lungs. Cruised many times previous to this and have never had this experience before. Many people were coughing around us during this trip. We are not feeling happy.