MSN / Ninesman reports on a viral outbreak aboard a Princess cruise ship cruising from Australia which sickened “hundreds” of passengers this week.

A passenger who was interviewed by MSN refers dramatically to being inflicted by a “virus from hell” with sounds of “vomiting echoing down the hallways.”  The Sea Princess left Fremantle on August 18th and was heading, eventually, to Singapore. This was reportedly not the first outbreak.  New passengers who boarded in Singapore were not warned of the outbreak and were described by one passenger as “lambs being Sea Princess led to the slaughter . . . they just didn’t know what they were in for.”

The virus was allegedly on the cruise ship “for months.” One passenger says that some of the bar and wait staff were already sick, when some passengers boarded, with gastroenteritis and influenza.  The passenger said that the sick crew members were afraid to report to the infirmary out of fear of losing their jobs. In our experience, some crew members who rely on tips keep working after they are ill.

MSN says that around 500 people were affected; however, Princess claims that this was not a major outbreak with only around 100 passengers becoming ill.  Princess confirmed to a newspaper in Australia that 100 passengers were sickened by what it innocuously referred to as a “tummy bug.”

Princess is declining to compensate passengers for the outbreak and will not be reimbursing them for the shipboard medical treatment needed on the ship.

We asked Princess for a comment but have not heard back from the cruise line.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Bahnfrend Creative Commons

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Read about cruise norovirus cases from Barfblog.

September 11 2014 Update: We just received a couple of comments from passengers on the ship (below), stating that the story is over-dramatic and the criticism of Princess is overblown.

September 12 2014 Update: Passengers who were struck down by the gastro-intestinal virus have disembarked at Fremantle this morning, according to abcnet.au. One passenger said he “was compensated for his bad experience. We got a special on our next cruise deal and the compensation was a couple of dollars as well, so they looked after us.” Another passenger said “they were not told about what had happened but believe they should have been.”

September 13 2014 Update: PerthNow reports that passengers said up to 400 people were ill on the ship which many are nicknaming “Pandemic Princess” and “Purgatory Princess.” Princess is sticking with its story that only a “small percentage” of passenger were affected. Passengers were offered a 50 per cent refund to be discounted from their next cruise. One retiree said that a “nice glass of brandy every night” kept him from becoming sick.

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  • Kathy Tunnicliffe

    I’m on this ship as we speak and it’s nowhere near as dramatic as that. I have no idea how many passengers were ill, but as soon as symptoms appeared, a very extensive hygiene programme was implemented and people showing symptoms were quarantined to rooms. In fact the number one complaint I heard was that Princess was in overkill mode and being overly dramatic. The fact is that most people didn’t get it. I didn’t see a single sick staff member working,norovirus isn’t the sort of illness you can work with, as I am sure the people who have had it will agree. I saw one person vomit on the stairs and they were sea sick.

  • Barbara Giannagostino

    I returned to Fremantle on 18 August – cannot wait to go again – I did get sick the Sun 17 Aug & returned home with chronic bronchitis – don’t blame the ship could have happened in Perth. Loved the Sea Princess, staff, service, entertainment & all the wonderful facilities.
    Must keep cleaning hands especially when using any facilities on Islands to the point of being paranoid.

    Barbara

  • peter

    This is what happens when people have poor hygiene standards

  • Denis May

    We have just returned from being on board The Dawn Princess for 49 days from Southampton to Sydney as the second half of the World Cruise 2014. We have nothing but praise for the health standards of the Princess Cruises Ships, after doing 8 cruises now over the last few years we find Princess Cruises are better than most lines. What did happen on The Dawn Princess was quite a few passengers did not wash their hands and if picked up on it by the Crew Members became argumentive with the Crew.
    You can also bet the passengers calling it ” The Cruise from Hell ” will be the first in line to try to con some compensation out of Princess Cruises.
    I feel sorry for any Crew of a Cruise Ship as most Cruise Lines avoid confrontations and do not support their Crews enough when dealing with spoilt, rude passengers.
    When we left for Southampton in March we sailed on The Queen Mary 2 on which we were on board for 56 days.
    The Dawn Princess was by far the more friendly,better organised and certainly less snobby than the so called rich and well to do passengers with appaling manners.
    Although there was only a small number of rude well to do, to think people of their age and education became involved in puch ups over deckchairs and fisticuffs in the laundry over the use of a iron is beyond belief.
    Our congratulations to Princess Cruises on the standard of their Cruises the problem faced by The Sea Princess would be one of few instances and I’ll bet passengers NOT washing their hands had a lot to do with it.

  • traveller on sea princess

    I was on the Sea Princess cruise from Fremantle 8th July to 3rd August. It was a sick ship running on 3 engines only so air conditioner not working going into the tropics. Room temp around 30 degrees. Ports cancelled or cut short. Then Norovirus hit there were over 100 passengers sick. No compensation was offered for the cruise from hell

  • michelle

    i was on this cruise from Fremantle to Fremantle, and i agree it has been all blown out of proportion. I agree there were sick people onboard but no more than on any other cruise that i have done, and this was my 17th cruise. The crew onboard were so nice and the amount of crew that were abused by passengers for just doing there job was disgusting. if the problem was as bad as the media are saying there would be no way that i would have put a deposit on for another cruise on the ship. Please don’t believe everything you read

  • Kristoffer

    Lots of Princess shills here I see. Unlike the shills here, I’ve had gastroenteritis, and it is not a “tummy bug”. It’s a crippling illness that leaves you unable to walk 6 feet without collapsing and waiting 10 minutes before you can walk again.

  • s van eyck

    my husband and i were on this cruise fremantle to fremantle and suffered the flue virus we did everything to stop infecting others by staying away from other travellers and good hygeine but unfortuneately the virus i believe was in air conditioning therefore spreading throughout the ship. I believe the crew did all they could to help prevent the passing it on. other factors also came into play which I think the captain did to the benifit of health by evacuating and taking due care. He had no control over the weather which cancelled our trip into Bali

  • barbara anderson

    We have just returned from a cruise on Dawn Princess to New Guinea which left Sydney on 31st August,2014.A very large majority of the passengers were sick.I myself have been very sick since getting off the ship.The average age on this cruise was 79 years old.The oldies do not comply with the santising of their hands when entering the dining rooms thus putting the rest of the passengers at risk of sickness. More control is needed and more consideration to their fellow passengers when coughing allover the ship.

  • Lyn

    My husband and I were on the Sea princess 28/8/14 from Singapore to Fremantle, it was in lock down apparently due to Noro virus,. We were not advised of this at embarkation, also many oldies on board were unwell coughing, not using hand sanitizers! It was like a floating nursing home. The ship was unable to make ports due to mechanical issues that stopped it sailing from Fremantle when we finished our pitiful excuse for a holiday! My husband got sick within three days of boarding, I was lucky not to get sick. We were all vigilant with our hygiene. If people are unwell coughing etc , stay in your cabins ! It’s not brain surgery!,

  • Gillian and Ian

    we were on the Sea Princess , Singapore to Fremantle, and we were unaware of the virus until we boarded. We were vigilant in our hygiene, washing hands after and before eAting and also if coughing or sneezing. We had a great trip and can’t praise the crew enough for their hard work in keeping the ship clean and spotless through out the criuse. We did not get sick, and although dissapointed at not going to Vietnam and Bali, which was because of engine issues, we had a very enjoyable time. We had our daughter , son in law and grandchildren with us and we did appreciate the cruise line giving us a reduction in our next cruise with them. Which we will be going on next year, even if it is the Sea Princess.

  • Wayne

    my wife and I just did 14 nights on the Dawn Princess, getting off in Sydney last weekend. Both of us contracted a bad dry cough while on the ship. We both are having trouble talking without coughing.

  • adele

    My husband and I were on the sea princess in June 2014 and were not told that the ship would be running slow due to engine problems, therefore arriving in Noumea at night and pouring with rain,so not worth leaving the ship.Also late for all other ports of call. To make matters worse the toilet blocked up twice within 2 days and we were in a balcony cabin for two.Never put any foreign matter in the toilet…ship needs major overhaul and left empty for a week to get rid of the dreaded norovirus…all about money