The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has documented passengers sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas out of Baltimore have been sickened on two consecutive cruises. 

The CDC website reflects that 97 passengers and 8 crew members on the Grandeur of the Seas became ill with vomiting and diarrhea. It left April 5 for a seven-day cruise and returns to Baltimore today.

Royal Caribbean Cruises notified passengers who will be boarding today to arrive late at the port Grandeur of the Seas - Baltimore - Noro Virusbecause the cruise ship will undergo another round of the so-called "enhanced cleaning."

The Associated Press indicates that Royal Caribbean believes norovirus to be the cause.

As is the situation with virtually all gastrointestinal outbreaks on cruise ships, the CDC has not announced an explanation how the outbreak took place. Contaminated food? Contaminated water? Sick crew members working while ill in the galley or dining rooms? Cruise passengers not washing their hands? (the cruise lines’ usual excuse). Your guess is as good as mine.  

This is the second consecutive cruise on the Grandeur with a illness outbreak, The CDC reported that 111  passengers and 6 crew members became ill with norovirus on the Grandeur during its cruise from March 28 to April 5. You can read our report here.

The CDC has documented a total of 8 gastrointestinal illness outbreaks on cruises returning to a U.S. ports so far this year. (There was also a norovirus outbreak aboard the P&O Oriana recently). There were just 9 outbreaks in all of last year. Norovirus is cited as one of the reasons the public has less confidence in the safety and reliability of cruising, especially from people who have never cruised before.

This week we were contacted by many cruise passengers asking whether they could cancel the cruise which leaves today because of the ongoing outbreak. Unfortunately the cruise lines hold all of the cards in cases like this.  Fear of becoming sick is not a legally recognized reason to cancel a cruise and expect a refund. However, it all depends on the goodwill of the cruise line. A FOX News report indicates that the spokesperson for Royal Caribbean, Cynthia Martinez, said "if passengers don’t want to take Saturday’s cruise, Royal Caribbean staff will help them reschedule." 

You can contact Ms. Martinez on Twitter – @CrisisCommChick / telephone (305) 982-2458 / email

Suing a cruise line for compensation when exposed to a gastrointestinal virus is a losing proposition because the CDC does such a poor job trying to determine the cause of the outbreak. In this most recent case the CDC has not determined the type of virus much less how the virus came on the cruise ship.

The last message we received was last night: "I will be traveling on the Grandeur this Saturday as well and our check in time was delayed 4 hours! I will be bringing my own bleach wipes on board. Wish us luck!"

Good luck!

Photo Credit: WBAL Baltimore

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  • Andy Smithers

    I wonder if they have thought about the air conditioning ducts as a vector that they cannot effetely treat. I get sick and tired of Captains coming over the PA system saying that PAX is the only vector. This “line” has pissed me off on multiple occasions. Obviously the CDC and RCCL cannot explain away the reinfection other than a lack of standards that may or may not be the cause.

  • Donald Rustici

    My wife and I sailed on The Grandeur April 5th. The so called cleaning protocols that Royal Caribbean is using. IS NOT WORKING!!
    My wife was infected the very first day. Then quarantined to our stateroom for 24 hours. We were told by Royal Caribbean that the disease was largely contracted by person to person contact. If that’s true. How come I didn’t contract it sharing a stateroom that is about the size of most peoples bathrooms? The same holds true for other couples I spoke to aboard. One spouse contracted the virus and the other did not. The crew has also suffered greatly. They have been overworked to the point of total exhaustion. This contributed to very poor customer service aboard. Royal Caribbean is clearly only worried about their bottom line. And are putting passengers and crew at risk by continuing to sail this ship. This was our fourth cruise. And by far the absolute worst! I am appalled that Royal thinks what they are subjecting their passengers and crew too is okay. All in the effort to make the almighty dollar. Thank you Royal Caribbean for ruining our vacation. It only cost us $ 2,500.00. To get sick and aggravated. P.S. this was our third cruise with Royal. Cruisers Beware !

  • Chris McDade

    I have sailed 17Xs with RCCL and am currently booked on the 4/19 Grandier sailing. I absolutely love both the customer service and the cleaning protocol on all of RCCLS ships. One day this winter, there were only 7 children in attendance out of 27 on role at our local pre-K. 20 were out with some form of virus. Who do we blame for that? I feel TERRIBLE for the folks that fell ill as it is certainly not the way that anyone would like to spend a vacation. However.. I’m not in agreement with anyone who blames the cruise line for any kind of negligence.

  • Jim Higgins

    My wife and I along with our son, niece, and 5 other friends sailed on Grandeur April 5th. We were told that we would be boarding a few hours later because they had a few people get sick and had to sterilize the ship. We thought okay they are sterilizing everything and we are good to go, wrong! We heard here and there that some people were getting sick, not a big dill. You had to sanitize your hands everywhere you went, I was okay with that. One person with our group of 9 has cancer and has been going though chemo. She informed them of her condition in advance and they gave her handicap status. On Coco Kay island her husband started filling sick and went back to the ship. He thought it was the heat and a little sea sick and felt better the next evening. Then their son got sick and they thought it was from him playing basket ball in the heat and not drinking water on the island. Then she got sick and they had to call the doctor. After that we found out that there were a lot of people on the 3rd floor sick all around us and we didn’t know. On the last night the other one in our group, in a room alone got sick. The 3 with me didn’t get sick and we all ate together, went to shows together and hung out together. The kids ran the ship with the teen group till 1am and only the son got sick that I know of and they touched everything. When we were sailing back we were told we could no longer fill our own drinks for our safety they had to do it for us. Sounds like they are trying to protect us right, Wrong! I told the man that took my cup, filled it (with gloves on) that he was only protecting himself because he was filling every ones cup with the same gloves on his hands and could cross contaminate. He looked at me like he didn’t understand. I felt bad for the crew as they were working extra hours trying to sanitize. During the trip things closed or they blocked them off, soda machines out of ice and out of soda. We had to ask for toilet paper 2 times on the way back. This was my first and last cruse unless its a new ship! I don’t fill that they can sterilize that ship after we got off in 4hr’s. I think it would take days. I will say that the servers we had in the Great Gatsby are the best part of my time on the ship. Roy and George are great at their job and try to get us to try different things by bring it to our table to try along with what we ordered. I would give Roy a 11 on a scale of 1 to 10.

  • Keith

    We are on this ship and the crew is taking every precaution to keep you safe! You must sanitize your hands before eating and you cannot help yourself at the buffets! Rails, doors and handles are all being wiped as well. I feel at ease!

  • Kate

    My husband and I were on the April 5th voyage. After receiving an email prior to sailing that told us boarding would be delayed because of “enhanced cleaning procedures” due to an outbreak of the norovirus on the previous cruise, we were prepared for a few slight delays. What we weren’t prepared for was the continual, unending, totally intrusive “cleaning” that we experienced for the rest of the trip. Everywhere we went, we were hounded by crew members with Purell bottles, who essentially forced you to “clean” your hands before doing anything – walking through the shops, the theater, and of course, the dining halls. Even if you had washed your hands moments before, they wanted you to “sanitize” your hands. There are, of course, multiple problems with this, such as the fact that Purell is not effective, that it kills the natural bacteria on your skin, making you more susceptible to illness, and that it causes the virus or bacteria against which you’re trying to protect yourself to become resistant to Purell (due to ineffective use). Everything we touched was either wet, because it had just been “sanitized”, or sticky because the sanitizer had air-dried on it. We weren’t able to use the soda machines without crew interference, couldn’t serve ourselves at the buffet – everything was mediated by the crew. However, the measures taken to ensure cleanliness were, clearly, insufficient. Crew members would wear gloves, but the gloves didn’t protect against contact with guests, so the gloves were ineffective. No one wore face masks, so there was no protection against airborne transmission. The crew were clearly being worked to exhaustion, which doesn’t help to prevent contamination. The whole cruise was, frankly, a disaster. We won’t be going with Royal Caribbean again.

  • comeonpeople

    I was appalled when boarding a cruise last week that the health department only requires people over the age of 18 to fill out the health questionnaire. I am a pediatric nurse and face it, little kids carry a lot of the gi and respiratory viruses and can not contain their secretions. Parents should be required to fill out forms for the entire family. (And if they just forked over 4k or more for a cruise, they will probably lie and say their kids are fine). However, it may help people to be more diligent about coming to cruise sick or with sick kids.

  • Barbara Mannarino

    My husband sailed on Grandeur of the Seas on July 4,2014. This was our 3rd cruise. I was very impressed with the cleanliness and sterilizing of the ship. On each floor ther were numerous purple stAtions, going into any dining facility, there were employees with sterilizing gel to squirt onto your hands. Employees were constantly wiping stair handrails, elevator panels and buttons, and any surface was constantly being disinfected. We had an illness free 10 day vacation. We were VERY impressed with the Grandeur of the seas and Royl Carribean.

  • Kelly Denison

    My husband & I sailed on Carnival Sunshine on Jan. 10th -Jan. 17th. It was our first and last cruise. What a cluster of people, elevators that don’t come, lines for anything & everything you try to do. I got seasick in the beginning of the week but was fine within 4 hours after taking dramamine (which my husband had to wait in the guest service line to buy…) and I continued to take it every 8 hours the rest of the cruise. Then I was fine, thank goodness for our 2 stops in San Juan & St. Thomas. Then during sleep I woke up and was never so sick in my life!! It was awful, coming out of both ends. I couldn’t leave my room for 2 1/2 days I was too sick. Then the staff won’t tell you anything about anyone else being sick?? But before I got norovirus I heard from other cruisers that people in their parties were sick but I didn’t know if it was sea or noro. I overheard one family walking by saying, well she has to eat something, she needs something in her stomach or she’ll get even more sick! Sounds like noro to me. I was on floor 7 so I couldn’t walk down to 0 where the medics were, I was too sick, and I was to sick to reach over and use the phone or have any brain function to try & figure who or how to call them to report it. In hind sight always 20/20, my husband should have gone to the medics and made them come to our room and test me because I understand there is a simple test to detect it. One other issue, we left Bahamas and about 2 hours into sail the announced we were going back to Bahamas to bring a family w/a medical emergency. The next morning they kindly announced over the loudspeaker that because of the medical ER they were going to SKIP our stop in Grand Turk, over & out. NO MENTION of any kind of refund for them deciding because of only a 5 hour delay they were skipping 1 out of 4 of our stops!! I’m sure a ship like a plane can easily make up time?? I wrote them and they are not budging they are giving NO REFUNDS for the missed stop. This was the worst experience I’ve ever had, I couldn’t wait to get back to my home in MN! First time ever, I wasn’t depressed about coming home from vacation.