According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 73 people have reported sick, with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, on Holland America’s Zaandam during a cruise through Alaska.
58 of all passengers (3.94% of 1,472) and 15 of all crew members (2.54% of 591) have reported ill to the ship infirmary during the cruise which started on June 18, 2018. The HAL cruise ship stopped in Juneau yesterday and plans on additional stops in Alaska before returning to Seattle on July 2nd.
Several newspapers report that the outbreak is due to norovirus, although the CDC indicates that the causative agent is currently “unknown.”
Holland America Line experienced 19 cases of GI sicknesses reported to the CDC since 2010. Only Princess Cruises suffered more norovirus/GI cases which were reported to the CDC during this time period. Last year, HAL suffered norovirus outbreaks on the Nieuw Amsterdam, and two outbreaks each on the Volendam and the Noordam.
Cruise ships on non-U.S. itineraries do not have to report GI outbreaks. We have previously mentioned gastrointestinal outbreaks during cruises which do not include a U.S. port, including an outbreak on the Veendam which sailed to a port in Greece last November.
Update: This afternoon I received the following email from a passenger:
“Your latest article about Holland America caught my attention.
I must admit that I am shocked that here on board there is nothing being done regarding standard sanitation before eating. On Princess there is always someone present to give you a plate after you wash your hands or use the sanitation lotion. Here on the Westerdam there is nothing being done.
I don’t see any passengers using any cleaning methods before eating. Therefore your article doesn’t surprise me. Carnival needs to use Princess as an example and get Holland America to improve. I hope this information helps and maybe something can change.
On another note, last week we were sailing in glacier Bay and all paper napkins and straws should be prohibited as they do on Princess but I caught Holland America using them and I quickly reported this to a ranger on board who was shocked.
From my point of view Holland America is lowering their standards and it’s a shame.”
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Photo credit: Barek – commons / wikimedia.