Royal Caribbean battles Norovirus again (update)
Published on March 7th, 2012
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.