Royal Caribbean battles Norovirus again (update)


It has only been a couple of weeks since we reported that there had been a Norovirus outbreak on Independence of the Seas, and while our readers and others gave some really positive feedback on how Royal Caribbean handled the situation, it seems the virus has caused problems for the next cruise passengers.

Passengers have confirmed our initial report, and one stated they “received excellent complimentary treatment” in his stateroom. To blow Royal Caribbean’s trumpet some more the passenger also said, “Action taken was second to none”. It’s great hear feedback like this when something goes wrong onboard, especially considering we also cruise more than once a year for business and pleasure.

It’s not all good news – we’re now getting reactions from cruise passengers that visited the same boat on its last cruise, which sailed right after the one with a Norovirus outbreak. We know there had been a delay, which is likely down to extra time spent cleaning the cruise ship but was this delay enough considering new feedback coming in from passengers that stepped off Independence of the Seas on March 6th?

One of Cruise Ship News readers explained, “It was the CRUISE FROM HELL. I could not wait to get off the Independence of the Seas this morning 6th March 2012. My husband got Norovirus and was isolated in the cabin for 48 hours after the last symptoms disappeared. I decided to stay with him in case I was infectious – consequently we missed two of the trips that we most wanted to do. We were offered a future trip with a reduction in price – NO THANK YOU. I feel for the people that are going on the cruise today”.

What’s interesting is the gap between cruises when there is an outbreak, and some people state it should be days not hours. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

We’ve heard back from the Royal Caribbean International PR team and they have given us the statement below.
During Independence of the Seas’ sailing that began in Southampton on Friday 24 February 2012, an elevated number of passengers experienced gastrointestinal illness. Over the course of that sailing, 117 out of 3,848 guests and 3 of 1,354 crew members have experienced the illness, thought to be norovirus Those affected by the short-lived illness have responded well to over-the-counter medication being administered onboard the ship.

At Royal Caribbean International we have high health standards for all our guests and crew.
During the sailing, we have been conducting some enhanced cleaning onboard the ship, to help prevent the spread of the illness. Additionally, when Independence of the Seas arrived in Southampton, on Tuesday 6 March, we are conducting an extensive and thorough sanitizing onboard the ship and within the cruise terminal, to help prevent any illness from affecting the subsequent sailing. As a result, boarding of passengers for the 6 March sailing was delayed until 7 p.m.

All guests received a letter at boarding that asked if they had experienced any gastrointestinal symptoms within the last three days. Similarly, if guests were uncomfortable taking their cruise at that time, for reasons related to personal health or otherwise, our staff assisted them in rescheduling their sailing for another time.

According to health experts, each year as many as 300 million people worldwide are affected by Norovirus. Only the common cold is more prevalent.

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  • Mrs Mary Ramsey

    We were on that cruise starting the 24th of Feb and were not notified prior to arriving in southampton that we would not get to board until later in the day so i sat with my mother who is in a wheel chair and her eldery sister and 2 friends in Southampton airport from 11am until 2.15 pm then a bus took us to the port terminal where we all had to stand in a heavy congested line for another 2 and a half hours before we got on the boat by that time we were all dehydrated and exhausted and my mother only left her cabin to have our evening meal as she was scared to catch anything as she is quite frail and has poor breathing and the room service was always a 40 to 50 min waiting time and was a very limited menu and normally only ever luke warm so sadly not as good as i would have liked it to be and it was to celebrate my sisters 50th and we paid over £5000 for us all so could have been a lot better and royal caribbeans 2 bottles of martini asti and a sponge cake falls way short of my idea of compensation.
    So its back to p&o for me as i find them hard to beat .
    Mrs Mary Ramsey

    Stirling Scotland

  • Carol_j21

    The queuing both in Southampton and also Madeira was totally unacceptable!  I was with my 14 month old daughter and was expected to stand outside in 7 degress with her for over 2 hours.  No help was offered, it was totally unacceptable!  Then in Madeira there was another 2 hour queue to get back on the ship, again my daughter was really struggling and no help was offered.  I would NEVER go back on this ship or one of this size with RC again.  It was an awful cruise and we left feelign that it wasnt a holiday but an endurance test!

  • Tammytroot

    My Wife and I were on the 6th March sailing of IOTS and had a great time, the ship was spotless and the staff could not have been more thorough in their actions.We are unaware of any Norovirus on this trip.The check in was a bit of a disaster at one point when the systems went down but no worse than we have experienced at many an airport. Madeira was a logistical boo boo as everyone seemed to arrive back from excursions at dockside at the same time and the two ramps could not cope. Would sail with RCI again, just wish they would have a rehtink on their drinks prices, they are the highest we have encountered.