Voyager of the Seas - NorovirusWhile reports of five hundred sick passengers aboard two of Princess Cruises’ ships sailing to Fort Lauderdale (Ruby Princess and Crown Princess) dominate the news here in South Florida, a newspaper in New Orleans is reporting that over 200 passengers were stricken with norovirus on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship this weekend.

This means around 700 people on these three cruise ships are battling diarrhea and vomiting.

The norovirus outbreak aboard Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas caused delay of the cruise ship’s departure from New Orleans   According to, 20 of the over 200 affected passengers on the ship were quarantined in the port as a result of their illness.

The delay was around two hours Saturday evening as cleaning crews tried to sanitize the cruise ship.  It is impossible to adequately sanitize a ship this large in such a short turn around, assuming the norovirus is not in the cruise ship’s food or water.

Yesterday we reported on norovirus outbreaks on the Ruby Princess and Crown Princess.

Last year, there were 14 sickness outbreaks on cruise ships calling on U.S. ports.  So far, in the first five weeks of this year, there are already five outbreaks.

With the Costa Concordia disaster and several other overboards, deaths and shipboard rapes, the cruise industry is off to a rough start in 2012.

Were you on the Voyager of the Seas?  Please leave a comment below and let us know how the cruise line handled the outbreak. 

November 11, 20122 Update:  Passengers report a large norovirus outbreak on the Voyager of the Seas as it sailed to Australia.

November 23, 2012 Update: The norovirus continues to infect unsuspecting passengers aboard the Voyager of the Seas in Australia. This time throughout the November 5 tp 23, 2012 18-night sailing returning to Sydney.


Photo credit: Kerry Maloney  / / Times Picayune

  • J Gaston

    Five in our party traveled on the ship last week and the ship did an excellent job of trying to control any illnesses. They were cleaning elevator buttons, hand rails, etc. With over 3000 passengers and 1500+ crew it is a difficult job.

  • Deck6

    We were on the Voyager 1/28-2/4. Starting on Monday, the captain and crew started making announcements that there was norovirus on the ship. They added more hand sanitizing stations and also refrused anyone dining service unless they took some sanitizer from the attendant at the dining room door. More crew were visibly wiping down stairwells and rails throughout the ship. It would have been much worse – I think they did a great job at containing the problem!

  • HouseHunter42

    I was one of the many unlucky that caught this horrible virus!! There is definitely a problem with their reporting system as I would say a lot more than 200 were stricken. Personally I witnessed very little being done other than a random staff member wiping a railing here or there. I blame Royal for caring more about the almighty dollar than the health and welfare of their passengers. In reading previous reviews the week before we left I leaned the cruise 2 weeks prior to ours had an outbreak too. There is NO excuse for this!!!!

  • Ryan

    I was on this ship and was one of the unfortunate affected by the norovirus outbreak. When boarding the ship we were presented a letter stating that some passengers were infected on the previous trip. Royal Caribbean did not delay our departure to clean the ship. Once out to sea people started becoming sick and we received a letter in our stateroom saying that people are becoming sick and to make sure to wash your hands. This ship should have been disinfected before we got on! Thank you for ruining my vacation by being careless Royal Caribbean

  • Lori Harris

    I love your blog and I love to cruise. This week I will be turning 53 so I do not intend on bashing the older cruise passenger but time and time again I have been astounded by the number of older ladies that refuse to wash their hands when leaving a stall in the public restrooms. Again at the number of older passengers both men and women, that refuse the hand sanitizer offered as they enter the different dining facilities. You hear “Oh I have already washed my hands” or “I do not like that stuff”. These are the people that spread their illness to other passengers. All it takes is one sick person that is determined to “enjoy” their cruise vacation to spread the germ on to others via hand rails, elevator buttons, the backs of chairs, forks and spoons as they reach in to retrieve theirs. If more people used the common sense and the rules their mothers taught them, the outbreaks would be much less sever. Crew members are always cleaning but they can not follow each of us to wipe down everything we touch to make sure the next person does not have the chance to catch something. We have some responsibility too. Unless there is intentional gross negligence and/or indifference how is the ship at fault? It simply does not make financial sense. If people are sick the will not be drinking alcohol, spending time in the casinos, or feel up to booking that excursion at the next port. Again I love your blog and take to heart what you have to say but on this issue I believe you to be laying blame wrongly. Still a fan that washes her hands.

  • Karen brewer

    My husband an I both were main problem with it all was when I went to visit the infirminty the nurse said that I would be getting a shot in butt instead she gave it to me in my side right above my kidney.. And from that I’ve been in extrem pain.I question the professional ability of the medical crew.

  • Adam

    I was one of the passengers affected by the virus. It was unfortunate, but I believe Royal Caribbean did a fantastic job in informing us and containing the spread as best they could. They made every effort to make us as comfortable as possible while in quarantine. They even offered cruise credit for time not allowed out of our rooms. We had a wonderful time and plan to cruise with RC again soon! I witnessed, as did Lori, many people neglecting to wash hands and take hand sanitizer. The cruise line can only do so much.

  • Melissa

    My husband and I were on the Voyager 1/28-2/4. Luckily we were not affected by the virus, but we feel the ship did an excellent job of keeping the passengers informed of the situation and also they quickly started the “enhanced” cleaning where crew were visibly wiping down public areas of the ship (handrails, elevators, chairs, etc.) everywhere we looked. It is unfortunate that there were people who were ill and I’m sure that being quarantined in your stateroom was not pleasant, but the ship did a good job of trying to keep the ship clean and informing the passengers what should be done.

  • W Morris

    I became ill on the Voyger. Being sick on a ship is no fun. My sickness was not near as bad as some fellow cruisers. RCL did try to maintain the sickness and cleaned the Stairs, door handles and public rest room every hour or so. They also ask staff not to shake hands with passangers at any event in order to maintain the problem. On Friday night our table of 10 only had 4 of us for dinner. Had one table mate who was quanteened to her room for a period. I feel that there more than 200 that were sick. TKS RCL for your efforts!!

  • Anne

    I also caught the virus last week. RC did the best they could, I think, with over 4,000 people on the ship. I am an older lady but I did wash my hands frequently, used the sanitizer and even carried a small bottle to treat my hands after going through the buffet line. Who knows if someone used the sanitizer at the door and then sneezed prior to serving themselves at the buffet. The crew were considerate, called multiple times to ask if there was anything they could do, and offered a credit. Several people ignored the quarantine request, and one of our table-mates boasted about getting off the ship before the crew were able to put a “HOLD” on his Seapass. With passengers like that (he wasn’t the only one who ignored the quarantine) it’s amazing more people weren’t sick. The Medical Services did seem overwhelmed though, and did not have enough staff to cope with the flood of sick people.

  • Isabel

    There are so many examples of how these things can be passed around, but it all starts with basic hygiene habits that everyone should practice.

    I can assure you that all crew and staff working on board these cruise ships, undergo countless hours of training in sanitary procedures.

    I was on board a cruise ship once that we had to bleach every square inch of the cruise ship, burn mattresses and linens in order to prevent a larger outbreak. It was not easy, but we did it in two days.
    Cruises are an amazing experience…the amazing ports of call, the life on board, the shows, etc..
    I have been both a passenger and a staff member, so be courteous and be mindful that your actions will impact the others around you. Do not ruin what could be a wonderful experience for you and your fellow passengers.


  • Shirley

    Why has nothing been said about the Noro outbreak on the Oasis? We were on the Jan 21 saling from Ft Lauderdale & the 3rd day into the cruise, we got a letter from the captain stating there was a Noro outbreak onboard. A few extra hand sanitizers were installed and we definitely used them. However, my husband was very, very ill all night 1/27. He saw a nurse in the infirmary in the early hrs of 1/28 who treated him for Noro and he was so weak, we had to disenbark with him in a wheelchair. The nurse stated they had a widespread outbreak onboard. We also heard that Noro had been present on the sailing previous to ours. Apparently, the RCCL people did not want the ship to stay in port long enough to properly sanitize it and many of the passengers suffered due to their decision.

  • andy

    I was on there 1/28 thru 2/4. I got sick late Tuesday night and was sick thru early Thursday. My wife got sick Thursday evening and was sick thru Saturday. I think that number of 200 is extremly low. Maybe that was all that went to medical and reported it. I would’nt be surprised if it was more like 1500. They stepped up sanitizing a little. I have been on six cruises in the last five years and this is the only one I have been on that people got sick. I was on the Voyager 3 years ago and I seen them as well as the other ship being more preventive than they were before people got sick on this cruise. With so many people in such small quarters and common areas, sanitizing needs to be priority by all. People need to be clean themselves and take all precautions.

  • Tammy Tarapczynski

    Im going on this ship Feb 18th and im scared now of getting sick! How do I know it was cleaned well? With the reviews on here it seems like it was cleaned fast (Only 2 hours of cleaning) and then set a sail again with new passengers on it just waiting to get sick !! Very worried !!

  • Bob and Cathy

    We also were among the ones who got sick. We were too sick to report it and just stayed in our rooms until we recovered. We turned the announcements off in the room so we could rest when possible. My husband started getting sick on Tuesday night and by Thursday we were both better and able to get off the ship. I have been told that the hand sanitizer doesn’t kill this virus–bleach does. I know we practiced good hygiene, but that didn’t stop the virus. There were certainly more affected than the 200 count. The crew were trying to sanitize, but it would be hard to control on a ship.

  • Jeanne Redding

    I was on the Voyager 01/28 thru 02/04; I was very impressed by the staff and the additional responsibilities placed on them as a result of the norovirus outbreak. Our stateroom attendant spent time explaining to us all the additional precautions that were undertaken. Fortunately for my husband and I , we did not get sick on the ship. However, @8 hours after leaving the ship, off the airplane and almost home, the symptoms started appearing! I really feel sorry for those who were stricken on board. It wasn’t fun!

  • Bill

    I agree with Andy, at least a third of the ship had it. Most did not seek treatment as they didn’t want to be quarantined. 12 to 24 hours later most were feeling better. Some suggestions for those going out on a cruise soon… Eat all of your meals in the dining room, not the Windjammer. This avoids touching the tongs and spoons that so many touch before you. Walk the stairs if possible and try to avoid using the hand rails. Pack a spray bottle of Chlorox cleaner to use in your room. Eat with the fork and spoon, not your fingers. And wash, wash, wash your hands!

  • Amy M

    I am also going on the Voyager of the Sea February 18th and am also very nervious about getting sick because I will be traveling with two children. I just hope that the next cruise that comes in doesn’t have a outbreak!

  • Robert

    We were on this ship. 200 sick is much to low. We were OK on board, then my wife got it starting in the airport on the way home. Not fun! The brilliant engineers know nothing about group interaction theory, the ships are too big. The passenger loads have exceeded critical mass, and there is no amount of wiping that can stop an outbreak.

  • Tammy

    My husband and I sailed on the Voyager 1/28-2/4 and both got sick. We were VERY faithful about washing our hands and using hand sanitizer. We did not go to the clinic we both just stayed in the room in the bed. Thank goodness it was short lived. We felt fine the next day. When we left the ship we both had noticed that the next few days while they were everywhere “being seen” with rags and bottles “cleaning” they were NOT REALLY CLEANING. A swipe here and an swipe there. They were not really doing much other than being seen.

    After returning home I looked up the Norovirus and found some interesting information
    from the Mayo Clinic:

    Norovirus infection is highly contagious. Noroviruses commonly spread through FOOD or WATER contaminated by fecal matter during preparation. You can also acquire norovirus infection through close contact with an infected person

    Methods of transmission include:

    Eating contaminated food
    Drinking contaminated water
    Touching your hand to your mouth after your hand has been in contact with a contaminated surface or object

    Noroviruses are difficult to eradicate, because they can withstand hot and cold temperatures, as well as most disinfectants. Use a chlorine bleach solution. Where possible, allow bleach to stay on surfaces longer than 10 minutes.

    So you tell me do you really think they were doing such a good job cleaning and preparing our food. I don’t think so.

  • Elizabeth

    We sailed January 14th 2012.. Felt fine on the ship but definately all had something on the way home. My 3 boys missed 3 more days of school with diarrhea and vomiting. Nothing was mentioned on board so i am thinking this may of hit at the end of our cruise going into the next. My boys past it onto my 75 year old dad and he is having a hell of a time recovering from it. Not the standard flu bug …..


  • Elizabeth

    We sailed January 14th 2012.. Felt fine on the ship but definately all had something on the way home. My 3 boys missed 3 more days of school with diarrhea and vomiting. Nothing was mentioned on board so i am thinking this may of hit at the end of our cruise going into the next. My boys past it onto my 75 year old dad and he is having a hell of a time recovering from it. Not the standard flu bug …..


  • Sarah beveridge

    I travelled on the voyager 1/28 -2/4 as a party of 4 and none of us became unwell. I have cruised several times before and this is the first time anything like this has happened. I thought RCL handled it extremely well and took all the necessary steps to stop the spread, but like it has been said already on here, all it takes is for one person not to wash their hands after the bathroom and it will still spread, no matter what the company do. I didn’t see evidence that over half of all passengers were affected, as the lounges, dining rooms etc were all still well attended.

    Please don’t let this put you off cruising or worry about going if you are travelling soon!


  • Dawna Nelson

    While I was unaffected by this outbreak, my sister was. As a former chef, I have studied all I can about foodborne (et al) illnesses. This outbreak was caused by dirty little humans not practicing acceptable hygiene habits. I feel the ship’s staff and crew did their best with a bad situation. You can’t really blame them for passengers not knowing how to properly maintain themselves…What you can blame them for was that bs port (R.C. owned shopping mall) in Jamaica…now THAT was a problem.

  • Jackie A

    My husband and I sailed 1/28-2/4 on the Voyager. Neither of us were strickened while on the ship but the day after debarkation I was ill for 24 hours. We washed our hands and used the offered sanitizer, in fact I always take my own bottle of anti-bacterial hand wash to use in our cabin frequently. One interesting point…on night two of the cruise we were told the waiter assigned to our table had became ill, that he had a fever and would return when the fever lowered. On night five our waiter returned to the dining room, although not to our table, stopped by and told us he had been out because of an arm injury and nothing said of the earlier reported fever. This makes me wonder if the cruiseline wasn’t trying for a little cover-up that this may have all stemmed from crew members. That said, we were both impressed with the ships reporting to the passengers and most certainly saw additional cleansing of railings, etc. This was our third cruise and the first with any illness. We will cruise again and with Royal Carribean.

  • Trouser Trout

    Hand washing and sanatizing 10x’s a day will not save you from this feces based disease. Gee, I haven’t had it since my last Alaskan Cruise out of Seattle in 2007 aboard Celebrity/RC. Some terrorist poopin in the food, I assure you. Look at the crew! PS Alaska was the last cruise.

  • Carolin Fewless

    My husband and I sailed 1-28 to 2-4-2012 on the Voyager of The Seas. I got sick with vomiting & diarrhea the 3rd night out. I stayed in my state room for about a day and a half. Because I am a nurse, I didn’t report to the ships doctor for treatment. I had brought medication with me for upset stomach and diarrhea, just in case it was needed, which it was. I must say my husband and I were impressed with the crews attention to detail and the captains repeated announcements about the guest washing their hands. I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to visit Georgetown. That was the one port I was most looking forward to visiting while on the cruise.

  • Sarah

    I am scheduled in June to go on a cruise with Royal now I feel like I should cancel it!! I am scared:(

  • G Moore

    Our family departed on the Mariner of the Seas in December from Galveston,Texas. There were 6 of us including our two year old grandson. The virus had been on the ship prior to our sail and the staff did an excellent job sanatising the ship and reminding all onboard to wash their hands. Although many got sick (200 or more) our family stayed well and healthy the entire journey. I will mention this..on several occasions I noticed people leaving the restrooms without washing their hands at all. I think Royal Carribean does and excellent job on taking care of each guest. If a two year old can wash his own hands after using the restroom then why is it so hard for grown adults to get the message on how these viruses are quickly spread? I know there are many that follow proper measure for keeping illness at bay while traveling and yet they still become sick. That is unfortunate. But for those that don’t take those extra measures…well it has the potential to ruin an other wise great vacation!

  • Mike

    Perhaps anyone seen NOT washing their hands should be restricted to their cabin the whole trip!

    Today I asked a man leaving a restroom at a hospital wasn’t he going to wash his hands? He returned and washed. I have done that before. Someday I may get a black eye, Oh, well.

  • Lucky One

    Was on ship 1/28 to 2/4/2012, did not get sick. I agree the number of passengers exceeded 200. I also noticed numerous babies in diapers using the pools and hot tubs. Where is the common sense parents? I saw at least 3 pools drained and sterilized on the last 2 days of cruise. Also the computer users in the library had no way to sanitize hands before or after using the keyboards.

  • Kathleen

    My husband and I were on the voyage that left Jan 28 to Feb 4, 2012. We immediatley noticed the attention to sanitation when we went to the dining spaces where we were met with hand sanitizers carried by both the crew and set up beside the doors. They ask the question about our health before we ever got on the ship. I am sure that not everyone was truthful, but also you have to take in account that some of these people who were initially sick may have thought they were experiencing sea sickness. But by day two it was let known that there was a problem. We were never affected, but the people next door to us were and they stayed in their rooms and received room service. If you tried to disembark before you were lifted off quarantine or tried to use your seapass aboard ship you were escorted back to your room. This was told to me by someone who had tried to leave ship once and she said all sorts of lights go off. The crew wiped down every surface multiple times during the day and we pretty much walked down the steps without touching the handrails. Probably the toughest situation would be being in elevators with others and going to shows were you are in close quarters. However, we did all those things and washed our hands and did not come home with a virus. I am sorry that some people did not fare so well. I did not use the pool and maybe that is where some of the cross-contamination came from for most people but who knows. It only takes one person who mistakes one illness for another to cause a problem. I think that the cruise line did a good job of trying to control the situation, common sense among the passengers would have also controlled the situation.

  • Paul Katz

    I agree with Lori Harris’ comment of Feb. 5th. I was on the Crown Princess cruise of 1/28-2/4 2012 and did not get the virus yet. Several items I will add – some of the staff on Princess should have been wearing gloves that were not.
    Passengers were allowed to enter the buffet line with just bathing suits – a man was wearing a only bathing suit nothing else no footwear.
    When these were brought to the attention of the head waiter he just ignored.
    In my estimate Princess was at fault but so weren’t the passengers, probably more so than the cruise line. Yet who do the passengers blame? Why the cruise line naturally!

  • rob

    I know ships are disinfected, but are the port authority buildings where hundreds of passengers gather BEFORE boarding the ship also disinfected? People line up and touch counters, etc. If they’re already infected, the norovirus can be spread before anyone ever gets on the ship and then it’s too late. Also, those infected leaving the ship pass through the same buildings. It’s scary.

  • Shannon

    We sailed on the voyager 2/4-2/11 and every effort was made the day before (e-mails to both my husbands and my e-mail addresses, calls to both of our cell phones, and home phone) to let us know of the outbreak. We took our own extra sanitizers on board but found that the halls and stairs were constantly being wiped down with bleach water. There were purell stations everywhere on that ship and we saw everyone using them. Going into the dining room they had attendents personally giving everyone sanitizer in your hands or you did not go in (did not see anyone refuse though) and most people used the sanitizer leaving the dining areas as well. They did offer those that were uncomfortable with going on the ship the opportunity to re-book on a different itinerary and anyone that had any symptoms of illness to please re-book but no one took them up on it. We had not talked to one person who did not think they were doing a good job at cleaning. This was our 5th cruise and was definately the cleanest ship we have sailed on.

  • Kathy

    We returned Monday February 6,2012 on Monarch of the Seas 3 night cruise. 3 of 4 of us in our party became ill returning home.

  • Irene Sanderson

    We were on the Feb. 4-11/12 Voyager cruise out of New Orleans. There was a delay in getting aboard because of the clean-up. R.C. was up-front about the outbreak, asking guests to co-operate in preventing an outbreak. The ship was spotless and the staff was very attentive. Staff were constantly cleaning handrails, etc. and hand sanitizer stations were strategically located. Unfortunately some people do not practice good hygiene and are the cause of the problem.

    R.C. did an excellent job. We had a wonderful time and would not hesitate to use the R.C. again.

    I.S., Winnipeg, Mb.

  • Mike

    I just went 2/11 to 2/18 and as far as I know the virus was gone. Don’t think anyone got sick. I didnt see them cleaning much of anything except for a few elevator buttons but my gf said she saw alot. I was paranoid of catching it after reading this forum so we bought a bottle of bleach and cleaned our entire room the second we got there. You wouldn’t believe what came off the light switches and walls. Filthy! The stateroom attendant said they only spray disinfectant an don’t actually wipe things.
    Aside from that the food was 10 out of 10 and it’s a fun ship.

  • E. Patrick

    We were on the 2/11 -2/17 sailing from N.Orleans… knew there had been a norovirus outbreak on the previous sailing, and they delayed our departure so they could deep clean; on the last night, some people at our table said they knew some people were in quarantine with noro virus during this week… we didn’t know that and it was never announced… they did print out precautions to take and leave in every room, including not shaking hands with anyone at all, as well as continuous handwashing….

  • George Thomas

    I was on the Voyager of the Seas from january 14th through the 21st. I was part of a musical group that brought about 600 ppeople with us.I never get sick on cruises, however, I started my cramps and sickness the morning we were coming back into New Orleans (about 3 in the morning. I had to end up going to my doctor the following Monday because it got worse. Not sure if it was a bug I caught in Mexico or on the cruise ship. This, however will not deter me from getting on another cruise ship.

  • Tim Ramella

    going on Voyager this April and I am really nervous about getting this sickness.
    What are my odds?

  • Jonathan Blanco

    I have flu like symptoms and I just came back from a trip Friday July 6, 2012. The royal caribean cruise ship is named the majesty of the seas. I enjoyed the locations but the ship itself was dirty. all hand rails and glass were dirty and the bathrooms were deplorable. I will never take another cruise again and I hope to get over this flu before I have to return to work otherwise I they will be served with a letter from my attorney.

  • Nancy M

    Sailed from Singapore to Fremantle Australia 22nd October 2012 14 nights on Voyager Of The Sea .There was a major Norovirus outbreak around 800 passengers affected plus an undetermined number of passengers with chest infection ..Ships doctor couldn’t handle the number of passengers reporting sick some turned away . One person airlifted when ship reached top end of Western Australia . The outbreak didn’t rate a mention on TV or news papers ( $$ damaging to tourist trade ) .I was a Norovirus victim was not well for over a week
    I must say Royal Caribbean kept ship clean and took all precautions , they can’t be held responsiable for peoples dirty habits eg. Licking fingers while circling buffet then touching food tongs servers etc .Small children unattended by parents touching food serving themselves a no no . Children forget to wash hands after toilet unless supervised . Many passengers were elderly some from nursing homes with carers nursing homes breeding ground for Norovirus . 3000+ people in one small area recipe for potential disaster .I for one will never be confined on a ship at sea ever again cruising is out for me ..

  • Nadia

    My Mother just went on the Singapore to Perth cruise & many people were quarantined . My Mother got sick the last few days of cruise & is still recovering, vomiting diarrhoea etc. . . Virus of the Sea Ship . . .

  • William Allison

    I was on this ship from the 5th Nov. from Fremantle to Sydney. After a couple of days I came down with a terrible cough and chest infection, went to the Dr. in Adelaide, a few days later my wife came down with it. I didn’t use the medical centre on-board as they charge $180 a visit and I was told it was packed.We are unlikely to travel RC again.

  • Diane Shepherd

    My husband and I sailed on the RC Jewel of the Seas a few years ago and there was a large outbreak of noro. We stayed on the ship one day whilst in port as we had both been feeling unwell and watched a member of staff on the floor below come onto the deck and wipe one corner of a sun lounger. She did this at least a dozen times. We also saw one or two different members of staff do exactly the same thing – and to the same lounger. I have found a lot of the comments on this forum very interesting, to say the least, and the one about babies in pools in nappies is quite disgusting. We have also noticed (as mentioned by a passenger) that several people visit toilets and do not wash their hands afterwards. I know this horrid virus can strike anyway, but hearing about the noro problem on other RC ships, together with our own experience, has put us off using this particular cruise line.