Passengers on the Anthem of the Seas are stating that as of Monday, as the cruise ship continued to head back to New Jersey for deep cleaning, the captain informed them that 109 passengers are sick with norovirus.

Other passengers also tell me that there are more than this sick, but they don’t want to go to the medical facility.    

According to the CDC, cruise lines are required to provide notification to the federal agency when the gastrointestinal illness (GI) count exceeds 2% of the total number of passengers or crew onboard. The CDC-required notification is for totals for the entire voyage.

There are between 4,180 passengers (double occupancy) and 4,905 passengers (maximum occupancy) on the cruise ship so 2% turns out to be between 83 and 98 passengers. So expect Anthem of the Seas - Norovirusthe CDC to officially announce that the Anthem to be the fourth U.S. based cruise ship with an norovirus outbreak this year. 

The much ballyhooed "severe storm" that supposedly caused Royal Caribbean to cancel two days of the cruise is nowhere to be seen, as passengers report good weather and calm cruising. 

Royal Caribbean, which didn’t mention the topic of norovirus until passengers went to Twitter complaining of the virus outbreak, denied on Twitter that the outbreak was the reason behind returning to port in New Jersey early. But many news sources blended norovirus into the story after an executive with the Associated Press aboard the cruise ship said that the ship’s captain and its cruise director made announcements about norovirus sickening people on the ship.

The AP executive was also quoted saying that the cruise ship "workers are scurrying around like ants, scrubbing down handrails, tables and any other surfaces that can be washed" – an apt although somewhat derogatory description. This is hardly what the cruise line wants the passengers to think about on a cruise marketed as a relaxing pleasure cruise.  

Whoever you believe, whether the Anthem of the Seas is returning to avoid the so-called storm or because of a virus outbreak, there is no doubt that the Anthem’s reputation is being mauled in the court of public opinion.  New York Magazine called her the "bad luck cruise ship."  CNN calls her the seemingly perpetually "storm battered" cruise ship. Some people on Twitter are asking "Anthem of the Seas: Cursèd ship of doom, or just a run of bad luck?"  

Of course, any mention of the Anthem today is accompanied by photos and video of the raucous cruise earlier this month which reminds everyone of the fact that the ill-fated ship sailed into the violent storm.

The "cursed" cruise ship theme was blasted in the headlines of the popular U.K. tabloid newspaper the Daily Mail which asked "Is the Anthem of the Seas Cursed?" The Inquisitr, Newsmax, and the Examiner, among others, all joined the Daily Mail in labeling the Anthem "cursed" in their news Anthem of the SEas Norovirusarticles.   

So the overworked crew members continue to spray and scrub everything in sight. Photos sent to me from the ship show the crew members wiping all rails and counters (photo top) and wrapping a rack of cookies-(photo bottom) with a Saran-Wrap like film, apparently to keep the surfaces and food clean. (I have never seen this before).  

Regarding the crew members who had to deal with storm-frazzled passengers three weeks ago, and are now pressed into non-stop noro-eradication measures, I’m sure that they feel that the Anthem of the Seas may indeed be cursed.

March 1, 2016 Update 5:00 PM:  The CDC disease data-base just listed the Anthem of the Seas. It lists "unknown" rather than norovirus so we may find out that there is some other source of infection like e-coli or something more exotic. 125 passengers and 16 crew members are infected at this point. The CDC recommends sending 10 more crew members and 10 contract cleaners to the ship as well as 4 Hotel and Housekeeping Operations Managers, 3 Public Health staff, one nurse from the cruise line corporate office.   

A newspaper in New Jersey published a story that quotes a passenger on the cruise ship saying that the CDC came on the ship in Puerto Rick and tested for e-coli.  

  • ryba

    This makes me so sad! Was so excited for this ship to homeport in my state with all the wonderful features the Quantum class brings. Kept up with all the updates while she was being built. Anthem kept me and my family safe during the storm. As an avid cruiser, I probably would have sailed her over and over again. Now a “cursed” ship, never again… like many seafarers I am very superstitious at sea!

  • owen

    I”m on Anthem of The Seas, right now, and I can tell you this,the ship. and the staff, bend over to please all the passengers…….I highly recommend this ship and Royal caribbean,.have some people gotten sick?, Yes…..but they have been confined to their cabins……and yes the ship is constantly being cleaned, and because we are coming in 2 days early, we have been refunded, the money and a 50% off coupon for another cruise, as well……..remember, people with poor hygiene habits cause these out breaks not the ship…..

  • delia hake
  • Sharra

    I’m on the anthem of the seas now and my whole family got what we think is the norovirus. They wanted me to give them a sample of my poop to test it, but at this point I was all popped out lol.

    And I’m sick to my stomach because my baby (18 month) old got the norovirus and medical dismissed it, AND THEN has the nerve to charge us $142.

  • Brent

    Maybe they should lock everyone that’s sick in the observation pod and hold it out over the water away from the others. Or put them in the skydiving simulator where the air can blow the germs up and out away from the ship. 😀

  • We went on Anthem of the Seas Inaugural Voyage from New York in November. It was a 12 day cruise and everything was wonderful!

    I think it’s sad that the media has created such a bad impression of this ship because of the unfortunate occurrences.

    On the previous cruise…the storm came out of nowhere and was probably not expected to be so rough. We experienced a few storms at sea, and it was quite rocky. I heard some experienced cruisers say that it was one of the rockiest ships they have been on. It was my first cruise, so I had nothing to compare it to but didn’t think it was that bad.

    On the sickness…they do a lot to prevent the spread of germs…but some people just don’t follow the rules. They even have crew members making sure that everyone goes through the hand washing station before entering the Windjammer Cafe(and a very catchy hand-washing song on tv). I saw several people deliberately ignore them and not wash their hands…Royal Caribbean cannot prevent that. I told one man that he was being inconsiderate, so he washed his hands 🙂 .

    Also, i just read that there is a new strain of Noro Virus that’s very contagious and people are more ill than with the typical strain. That could be the case, but I’m sure the CDC will address it.

    I would go on another cruise on Anthem of the Seas! I LOVE the ship. It’s much nicer than most of the ships we saw in ports and online!

  • L. Taylor

    The ship is a great one. My husband and I both had(have) norovirus. I had it the last 2 days/nights at sea, after it was announced that they were sure they had gotten rid of the virus! I was in the stateroom in bed, could eat nothing, had all the symptoms, was very sick. The crew did their best. I had waited with my husb. for an hr. and a half in sick bay. There were 13 others there, no one went in and came out, so we just returned to our room. What upsets us is that we are intelligent people, did not believe the whole reason for returning early was to beat a severe storm coming to New Jersey( which I haven’t heard happened), instead of at least stating that turning back was also due to the outbreak of norovirus. That would have been acceptable, as the truth. We talked to many people who did not get recorded , as we didn’t, of having the virus so the percentage was much higher than Royal Caribbean said. It never hurts to state the truth, shows much more integrity and we won’t be using the discount for another cruise.

  • D walton

    Me and my family were on this cruise. RC did not do anything they could to help prevent the spread. My whole family were comfined to cabin however, when my little boy became worse we had to take hi through the ship (whilst vomiting) to the sick bay and then back again. We were told if we couldn’t stomach the second rate food service then we should go to the windjammer buffet and. Ring the food back to our rooms to eat. This is not how a. Reputable company would manage a norovirus outbreak. I thought the universal procedure would be confinement should mean confinement. RC did not even provide us with disposable gloves and the necessary equipment we needed within our room to provect the family members who didn’t have it. SHAME ON YOU RC. I asked at guest services how bad this outbreak was because my little boy is Imune compromised and you told me I had nothing to worry about it was the weather forecast that was the problem. He did become ill and you did not care.