More than 100 people on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship sailing in the Caribbean have become sick with a gastrointestinal illness, according to at least one guest who has contacted this blog.
The outbreak reportedly occurred on the Oasis of The Seas which called on the port of Falmouth, Jamaica yesterday. The guest states that passengers were not let off of the ship. Royal Caribbean is reportedly offering an on-board credit for missing the port in Jamaica.
The Oasis of the Seas left Port Canaveral, Florida on January 6th and sailed to the cruise line’s private port in Labadee, Haiti on January 8th. The cruise ship was scheduled to call on Falmouth yesterday and is scheduled to arrive in Cozumel, Mexico tomorrow. It is then scheduled to return back to Port Canaveral on January 13th.
Officials with Royal Caribbean reported that there 167 cases of a stomach virus on board the ship.
WESH Channel 2 reports that Royal Caribbean reported 167 cases of gastrointestinal illness to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which represent 2 percent of the 8,454 guests and crew on board. The cruise line told the news stations that:
“We are bringing additional medical staff on board and we’re engaging in intensive sanitary procedures to minimize the risk of any further issues,” a statement from Royal Caribbean said.
The CDC states that cruise ships are required to log and report the number of passengers and crew who indicate that they have symptoms of gastrointestinal illness. The report is required when 2% or more of the passengers or crew have gastrointestinal illness. The CDC is required publish data on the Outbreak Updates for International Cruise Ships portal maintained by the agency where 3% or more of passengers or crew report symptoms of gastrointestinal illness to the ship’s medical staff.
The last gastrointestinal outbreak on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship to have been reported on the CDC portal occurred in December of 2017 when 310 of 4,160 of guests and 22 of 1,398 crew members became ill with norovirus on the Independence of the Seas.
January 10, 2019 a.m. update: The Oasis of the Seas reportedly is skipping the port of Cozumel and will return to Port Canaveral. The number of those affected by the gastrointestinal outbreak now exceeds 250. Royal Caribbean is also refunding the cruise fares to the passengers.
January 11, 2019 update: The CDC states that over 400 people were sickened by the gastrointestinal outbreak; 385 of 6,285 (6.12%) of passengers and 17 of 2,169 (0.78%) of crew members. The CDC has not indicated whether the GI outbreak was caused by norovirus.
January 12, 2019 update: “The number of people hit with a gastrointestinal illness on a Royal Caribbean International cruise ship has swelled to nearly 500 (475), a company spokeswoman said Friday,” according to NBC News.
“Don’t call us if you get sick on a cruise.’ — Miami-based cruise-industry lawyer Jim Walker,” according to Marketwatch.
The CDC reports that the total number of sick passengers with GI are 561 passengers and 31 crew members.
Full refund by Royal Caribbean: The cruise line earns PR points by issuing a full refund to all passengers.
Photo credit: Baldwin040 – CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.