The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that there was a gastrointestinal outbreak on the Crown Princess during its recent cruise, from October 25th to November 8, 2017. The Princess cruise ship departed Quebec, Canada on October 25th for a two-week cruise to Canadian and U.S. ports. The cruise ship arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 8th and will begin its Caribbean season.

According to the CDC report, 184 passengers and 12 crew members became ill with gastro-like symptoms which included diarrhea.  

During the period from 2010 to the current date, Princess Cruises experienced the most outbreaks on iCrown Princess Princess Cruises Norovirusts cruise ships calling on U.S. ports, according to the CDC. Princess reported twenty-one (21) cases to the CDC during this time period.

The Crown Princess alone has suffered through six (6) norovirus outbreaks since 2010 to the present. Before the current GI outbreak, the last norovirus outbreak on the Crown Princess was from January 3 – 18, 2016 and, before that, from October 18 to November 16, 2014. Earlier, there was a norovirus and e-coli outbreak from February 5 to 12, 2014. It also experienced back-to-back norovirus outbreaks from January 29 to February 4, 2012 and February 4 to February 9, 2012 (photo right).

The cruise line with the second most outbreaks is Holland America Line with 18 cases of GI sicknesses reported to the CDC since 2010. HAL suffered norovirus outbreaks on the Nieuw Amsterdam, and two outbreaks each on the Volendam and the Noordam this year.  

So why is Princess Cruises far more prone to norovirus outbreaks than Carnival cruise lines, for example? The cruise industry always blames the passengers for bringing the virus aboard, rather than its food handlers, or contaminated food or water. So are Princess Cruises customers the sickest and the least hygienic cruisers around? Are guests of HAL the second most unhygienic cruisers? Do they wash their hands the least of any cruisers? This seems like absurd arguments to make.

Is there a correlation between the age of the cruise ships and gastrointestinal outbreaks? Are different food sources and food handling techniques a more reasonable explanation? How about different sanitation procedures? 

The CDC doesn’t have time to determine the source of the norovirus outbreak (sick food handlers versus contaminated food or water or a sick passenger) so it is of no help. The CDC has not even determined the type of virus involved in the most recent outbreak on the Crown Princess.  

But blaming the passengers when one cruise line (and one cruise ship in particular) has far more gastrointestinal outbreaks than its competitors is certainly not the answer.

Whoever is to blame, the crew members, of course, always pay the price, by having to wipe and scrub and spray everything in sight for long 16+ hour days to try to disinfect a ship longer than three football fields.

Irrespective of the blame-game, don’t call us if you get sick on a cruise. Proving where the virus came from, or that the cruise line was negligent, is virtually impossible to prove, especially since the CDC conducts no epidemiological analysis and sometimes can’t even figure out whether the outbreak is due to norovirus, e-coli or something as exotic as shigella sonnei or cyclospora cayetanensis

Have a comment? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Read: Why Do the Cruise Lines Always Blame the Passengers When Norovirus Breaks Out?

Oceania Crew Members Pay the Price When Norovirus Hits.

Photo credit: WPTV (2012 noro outbreak); Royal Caribbean crew members (anonymous crew member).

HAL's OosterdamPassengers aboard a Holland America Line (HAL) cruise ship have fallen ill with symptoms consistent with norovirus on an approximately two week trans-Atlantic cruise that departed from Civitevecchia, Italy on November 3rd and arrived today in Tampa, Florida.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the November 3 – 18 cruise aboard the Oosterdam sickened 86 of 1,843 passengers (4.67%) and 18 of 796 crew members (2.26%) who exhibited symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. 

The link to the CDC about this outbreak is here. There has been no official determination of the cause of the outbreak although norovirus is suspected.

According to the CDC and the FDA, the most common cause of norovirus is contaminated food or water. Of course, like land-based restaurants, ill food handlers often transmit the virus. Passengers can also obviously bring the disease aboard which can spread due to unhygienic conditions caused either by the passengers and/or the cruise line.

Before there can be a scientific determination as to the actual cause of the outbreak, there must first be a serious epidemiology assessment of the ship which the CDC rarely performs due to the quick turn-around of the cruise ship. Unfortunately, in this case HAL immediately argued that norovirus is allegedly "circulating throughout North America and can be easily transmitted if personal hygiene is not maintained," according to a statement that it released to the Tampa Bay Times.

The CDC says that there have been 13 GI outbreaks this year, mostly involving norovirus with two e-coli outbreaks. 

The cruise ship says that it performed enhanced cleaning and left today for the Caribbean.

Photo credit: Sebastian Wessels wikipedia / commons, CC BY 2.5.

The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a 63-year-old woman from a Holland America Line (HAL) cruise ship approximately 60 miles east of Virginia Beach yesterday morning.

The HAL Rotterdam was sailing from Boston to Fort Lauderdale, Florida when it requested the Coast Guard to medically evacuation a passenger who was reportedly suffering from stroke-like symptoms.

At about 8:30 a.m. yesterday, a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter launched from the Coast Guard station in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The aircrew arrived at the cruise ship around 9 A.M  and hoisted the ill woman and her husband to the helicopter. 

The Coast Guard flew the woman and her husband to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. 

Video credit: Defense Video Imagery Distribution System

 

https://www.dvidshub.net/video/embed/489460

A couple on a cruise spent a little extra for the proverbial room-with-a-view only to find that HAL had a little surprise – it didn’t tell them beforehand about a crew member using a grinding tool outside their cabin’s window. 

The YouTube caption says: "Thanks for telling us when you upcharged us $600 extra for the window guys."

There are over a thousand comments to the video on Nate Zemanek’s YouTube page. 

Video Credit: Nate Zemanek

Hat Tip: Nine News Australia 

July 18 2016 Upgrade:  Seems that the couple were on their honeymoon.  According to UPROXX, when they complained, HAL didn’t seem to care and told them that the maintenance work on the lifeboats would continue, from 9-5 daily, for the rest of the cruise.  Later, after the issue went viral on Reddit and on YouTube, HAL refunded the $600 and gave them a free dinner.

 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=lA-9Y5L8NpI%3Frel%3D0

Yesterday, a jury in Seattle awarded $21,000,000 to a cruise passenger hit in the head by an automatic glass door on Holland America’s MS Amsterdam in 2011.

KIRO Channel 7 reports that the passenger suffered a traumatic brain injury which included debilitating headaches, problems with his balance and fatigue.

His lawyers at the Friedman Rubin Law Firm showed the jury that sliding doors injured 30 others across Holland America’s fleet of cruise ships in the three year period before the accident. 

Holland America Line said in a statement that it is "committed to the safety and security" of passengers, and that it will appeal the verdict. 

 

 

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation contends that cruise lines have violated Alaska air pollution regulations for the past five years. 

Tradewinds, a shipping trade organization, and the Juneau Empire report that Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) and Royal Caribbean Cruises disclosed in recent SEC earnings reports that they violated Alaskan Marine Vessel Visible Emission Standards.

KRBD reports that the alleged violation of the Alaskan air pollution law is widespread in the cruise industry. The community radio program interviewed a specialist at the Alaskan environmental program who identified other cruise lines who are accused of violating Alaskan law. In addition to NCL and Vision of the Seas Alaska PollutionRoyal Caribbean, Carnival, Holland America, Princess, Celebrity and Silverseas violated the emission standards according to the environmental specialist. 

Alaska issued 18 notices of violation involving 48 instances of excessive air emissions since 2010, according to KRBD. Each violation of law carries a fine of approximately $37,500. 

The cruise line are contesting the violations and are in negotiation with Alaska. 

The cruise industry, which largely burns cheap filthy bunker fuel, is installing scrubbers to reduce air emissions.

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join our discussion on our Facebook page.

 

Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas cruise ship – AlaskanLibrarian’s Flickr photostream

KHON 2 reports that two Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) crew members were injured and hospitalized yesterday in an accident on the Pride of America. 

The accident occurred when the NCL cruise ship was docked in Hilo.

The crew members, in their 30s, were reportedly lowering a lifeboat from the cruise ship when the cables broke. The video below says that the men ended up falling into the lifeboat which fell into the water. 

July 30 2015 Update: A crew member contacted us and said that "they were raising one of the rescue boats after doing some routine maintenance on the boat. it was not a life boat. As the boat was going up it somehow detached and fell from deck 6 to the water(4 deck fall)."

 

http://up.anv.bz/latest/anvload.html?key=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

The U.S. Coast Guard from Air Station Kodiak in Alaska medevaced a 83-year-old passenger man from a Holland America Line (HAL) cruise ship on Wednesday.

The man was suffering from symptoms of a heart attack.

A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew transferred the man to an emergency medical team on the ground.

The Coast Guard did not identify the name of the cruise ship.

Video Credit: Defense Imagery and Video Distribution Systems

https://www.dvidshub.net/video/embed/416376

A cruise passenger has reportedly gone overboard from the Holland America Line (HAL) Statendam cruise ship in the last 24 hours. 

When the Statendam arrived in Seattle this morning around 5:00 A.M. at the end of its 14 day Alaskan cruise, the passenger was not accounted for by the crew staff. 

The cruise line notified the U.S. Coast Guard of the missing passenger shortly before 11:00 A.M., a Statendam delay of 5 hours after the cruise arrived in port.

HAL later released a prepared statement a 64-year-old man was aboard the cruise ship when it last sailed from Victoria on last night

The Coast Guard then tried to put together a search plan and notified mariners to be alert for a person in the water. The FBI and the Canadian Coast Guard were also notified.

The man apparently disappeared between 10:00 P.M. when the ship departed Victoria and 5:00 A.M. when it arrived in Seattle this morning. 

The news accounts say that HAL reviewed surveillance video and determined their guest was seen on the footage when the cruise ship was near the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula. However neither the Coast Guard nor HAL would disclose what the video showed.

This means to me in all probability that there is no video of the man going overboard. If the video showed this, there is no doubt that a company like HAL would immediately disclose it to try and blame the passenger.  My conclusion is that there is probably video of the passenger somewhere on the ship and the cruise line was able to correlate the time-stamp images when the passenger was last seen with the approximate location of the ship. 

This case illustrates the sad state of affairs in the cruise industry with man overboards. A passenger disappears over a 7 hour period of time at sea and the cruise line has to look at surveillance video over the course of 6 hours when it reaches the next port  before it can belatedly inform the Coast Guard to conduct a search? The legally required automatic man overboard systems would have immediately signaled the bridge of the ship and a search and rescue could be immediately conducted. 

Millions of dollars are needlessly wasted as the Coast Guard goes on a wild goose chase and, more importantly, a life-saving search is delayed by the failure to comply with the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA).

According to Shiip Technology Market and Insight, "90% of cruise lines do not employ an MOB alarm system designed to sound on the bridge or at other centralized security station when it detects a person overboard." The publication quoted me on the issues saying: 

"Video surveillance cameras, not connected to automatic man overboard systems, are useless to deal with people falling overboard. The cruise industry as a whole refuses to implement true life-saving devices including infrared, motion-detection, radar, and tracking technologies which are ready, reliable and long overdue."

"Most cruise line are resisting compliance with the CVSSA requirement for an automatic MOB, claiming that man overboard technology is not reliable. That’s patently a false and misleading argument. The technology clearly exists but the cruise industry simply does not wish to spend the money necessary to save lives."

A week ago, a NCL crew member disappeared from a ship sailing to Alaska.  NCL apparently did not have a CVSSA-compliant man overboard system either. 

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

July 14 2015 Update: News sources say that the Coast Guard abandoned the search as of 6 P.M. yesterday.

 

Photo Credit: greenseaweed Flickr

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its preliminary factual report finding, as anticipated, that visibility was limited when the excursion flightseeing plane operated by Promech crashed in Alaska.

The  NTSB described that the pilot was operating under visual flight rules during “marginal visual meteorological conditions.” 

You can read one of our prior articles on the crash here

Video credit KTUU.

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