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 because 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!"
Photo Credit: WBAL Baltimore
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