The Coral Princess arrived in Los Angeles today with 71 of the 1,958 cruise passengers aboard the  Princess Cruises’ ship stricken with norovirus symptoms of nausea/vomiting and diarrhea.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that the noro-infected passengers comprise 3.63% of the total passenger population on the ship. 6 of 881 crew members are also infected.

The CDC determined the the gastrointestinal outbreak to be norovirus. Unfortunately, the CDC was unable to conclude where the norovirus came from. I am not aware of a single time when the CDC has pinpointed the cause of a cruise ship disease outbreak. The public is left with the "blame game" of wondering whether the cruise ship food or water was contaminated, or the outbreak was caused by a Coral Princess Cruise Shipsick galley worker, or was brought aboard by sick passengers and then spread because of inadequate hygiene and poor cleaning procedures.

Last year, Time magazine titled The 13 Worst Norovirus Outbreaks on Cruise Ships. The overall winner of Time’s top 13 list was Princess Cruises which had five outbreaks on its brand alone: Crown Princess (January 2010) with 396 ill; Crown Princess (February 2012) – 363; Ruby Princess (March 2013) – 276; Coral Princess (February 2009) – 271; and Sun Princess (July 2012) – 216.

The Coral Princess has been one of the Princess cruise ships most likely to be infected with norovirus. Princess and Holland America Line historically have the sickest cruise ships in the cruise industry’s fleet.

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Photo Credit: "Coral Princess – IMO 9229659 (2937202430)" by Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA – Uploaded by Navigans. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

  • Don Green

    I appreciate the posting. The cruise lines don’t make it easy to know about these outbreaks. If I were getting on the Coral Princess tomorrow, forewarned would be forewarned.
    On the other hand, 71 / 1958 = 3.6% (of the passengers got norovirus). Looks to me like Princess must have done a pretty good job of containing the outbreak. Also, there is generally a lack of quantitative and temporal analysis about norovirus on cruise ships. I’d like to see a current (latest 3-5 years) norovirus & ETEC analysis with annual percentages of the total cruise trips (or cruise passenger days per cruise line per year — If you take a 100 day cruise are the chances of getting norovirus higher than if you take a 3 day cruise?) Out of the apprx. 20,000,000 cruise trips people take per year, what are my odds of getting norovirus on my next cruise? How much higher or lower are my odds on a Princess ship vs. some other line? I didn’t find these on the CDC site. CDC lists lots of data, but putting it together into a useful comparison would be very difficult.

  • John Goldsmith

    I will tend to agree with Don. I would like to see all the information. When flying, if some one has an illness that can be passed along just by breathing, How are those risks calculated?
    Yes. Noro is a concern especially as I get older, and forwarned IS forearmed.

  • Linda Guenette

    I was just on that ship, and i can assure you Princess did every thing to sanitized it and protect everyone from the virus. We were not sick at all my hubbie and I. Add a great cruise on Coral Princess,Panama canal.

  • John Howell

    Myself and my partner was on that cruise and and was kept inform of the situation and told what to do to help protect ourselves. The crew and the staff were all brilliant and the cleanliness that was implemented was excellent with everything being cleaned and disinfected over and over again. The Staff could not do enough for you.