Yesterday we received an email from a cruise passenger planning to board the Celebrity Constellation, indicating that embarkation would be delayed several hours today because of a norovirus outbreak on the cruise ship.
Today news outlets are reporting that there has been a large outbreak of the dreaded disease on this ship. BBC reports that Celebrity Cruises’ Constellation arrived in Southampton at 06:00 GMT at the end of a 12-night cruise. The local port health authority said about 350 passengers had fallen ill with norovirus and were exhibiting vomiting and diarrhea.
Its departure has been delayed until 20:00 while "deep cleaning" takes place. Of course this type of cleaning is not much good if there is contaminated food or water or a sick crew member in the galley or waiting on tables.
The BBC report further reports that around 2,200 passengers and 900 crew members had been on a wine cruise around the coasts of France and Spain. Passenger David Mattey said his holiday had been "completely ruined" when he went down with severe vomiting and diarrhea. He said: "The sanitation on that ship is bad."
The U.K.’s Daily Echo mentions that passenger Mattey was bed bound for seven days, and had to go to the medical center several times for an intravenous drip to rehydrate his body. Mattey told the newspaper: “For elderly people to go down with something like this is horrendous. I have never suffered from anything like it before I still feel very weak and I am relieved I am home.”
Celebrity Cruises is quoted telling the newspaper that only "a small number of guests" were affected by the virus. The 350 sickened passengers as reported by the BBC is a very high number to become sick.
This outbreak does not have to be reported to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) because the cruise ship does not call on a U.S. port. The last outbreak affecting this ship which was reported to the CDC occurred in February this year.
The last outbreak reported about a Royal Caribbean / Celebrity cruise ship was last month and involved the Rhapsody of the Seas.
The cruise ships ported out of Southampton have experienced problems with norovirus outbreaks in the past which you can read about here and here.
How did the cruise line handle this latest outbreak?
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons (Megadri).