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Royal Caribbean offering refund and future cruise credit for norovirus passengers


For its guests returning early on the Explorer of the Seas cruise that was struck by gastroenteritis, Royal Caribbean will give them compensation for not only the lost time but also the poor experience.

CNN reports that all passengers will get a 50% refund of their fare as well as a 50% future cruise credit.

Royal Caribbean is also giving passengers that were quarantined in their cabins due to the Norovirus-like symptoms an additional credit of one future cruise day for each day they were kept secluded.

On top of all this, Royal Caribbean is reimbursing any change fees imposed by the airlines to book travel home due to the early return.

More than 600 passengers reported feeling sick on the cruise, which has garnered headlines around the world.  Royal Caribbean made the decision to bring the ship back early to perform thorough sanitization of the ship.

Royal Caribbean chairman defends cruise line screening processes


Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain spoke to CNBC about the recent bout of sickness that spread to over 600 passengers onboard Explorer of the Seas that is believed to be Norovirus.  He defended the way Royal Caribbean looks for passengers who may be sick prior to cruising to prevent them from infecting others.

"We screen our passengers as best we can," Richard Fain told CNBC in an interview.

“It’s a very unfortunate inciden. Our people responded quickly and aggressively.”

Fain also noted the recent cold temperatures in the northeast may have played a part, with the cruise originating from Bayonne, New Jersey.

Future bookings wouldn't be affected, said Fain. "Most people understand just how common a thing this is," he said.

Fain stood on the company's record in response to incidents like these. “We do an amazing job of helping guests when they do get sick and then cleaning after," he said.

Royal Caribbean bringing Explorer of the Seas back two days early due to Norovirus


Royal Caribbean announced it will bring back Explorer of the Seas two days early due to an outbreak of astrointestinal illness that affected over 300 people onboard.  Royal Caribbean will take the extra time to santize the ship completely.

Explorer of the Seas will return on January 29 and perform a thorough “barrier” sanitization program on the entire ship to make certain that any remaining traces of the illness are eliminated. It will be the third aggressive sanitizing procedure the ship has undertaken since Royal Caribbean became aware of the issue, and will additionally provide a window of more than 24 hours where there are no persons aboard the ship.

Royal Caribbean made the decision after consulting with represenatives of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with their own medical team.

Royal Caribbean apologized to its guests for disappointing them and will take "several steps to compensate them for their inconvenience."

A medical team is currently working to determine if the illness that spread across Explorer of the Seas is indeed Norovirus.

Royal Caribbean also mentioned new reports of the illness by guesta have decreased day-over-day and others previously ailing are now feeling better. It appears that reported illnesses among guests and crew peaked during the first few days of the cruise

Another Royal Caribbean ship experiencing norovirus outbreak


The Centers for Diseas Control and Prevention is reporting that as of January 24, 2014, 281 of 3,050 passengers have reported symptoms that resemble norovirus.  In addition 22 of 1,165 crewmembers have reported symptoms.

Royal Caribbean is taking these actions to minimize the problem.

  • Increasing cleaning and disinfection procedures according to their outbreak prevention and response plan
  • Making announcements to both notify onboard passengers of the outbreak and encourage case reporting
  • Collecting stool specimens from ill passengers and crew for submission to the CDC lab
  • Making multiple daily reports of gastrointestinal illness cases to the VSP
  • Preparing additional crew members to join the ship mid-voyage to assist with case management and intensified sanitation procedures
  • Consulting with CDC on plans for:
    • Passenger notification procedures and the planned delayed embarkation schedule in Bayonne, NJ on January 31, 2014,
    • Disembarkation plans for active cases, terminal and transport infection control procedures.

​As stated, the next Explorer of the Seas sailing on January 31, 2014 will be delayed for cleaning.

Unfortunately this is the second Royal Caribbean ship this month to suffer the effects of a norovirus outbreak, with Majesty of the Seas having one last week.

Norovirus causes symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.  It's spread from person to person, through contaminated food or water, and by touching contaminated surfaces.  It's important for every cruise passenger on every cruise ship to take steps to avoid getting norovirus.

Norovirus strikes Royal Caribbean cruise ship


Dozens of cruise passengers on Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas started feeling sick during a 4-night cruise from Miami.  Royal Caribbean confirms 66 passengers have reported the symptoms of Norovirus.

In addition, two crew members have also felt ill.  

Royal Caribbean believes the cause to be norovirus, according to the company’s statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta describes norovirus as a very contagious bug that can be spread by infected persons, in contaminated food or water, or through contact with contaminated surfaces. The CDC says norovirus affects nearly 20 million people in the U.S. each year, and results in between 570 to 800 deaths.

The cruise line said passengers affected by the illness had responded well to over-the-counter medication administered on board the ship.

The company said it enhanced cleaning on board the ship during the cruise to help prevent the spread of the illness.

After the ship docked, the company said it “conducted an extensive and thorough sanitizing on board the ship and within the cruise terminal, to help prevent any illness from affecting the next sailing.”

Passengers who boarded The Majesty of the Seas Friday received a letter asking if they had experienced any gastrointestinal symptoms within the last three days. Those who felt uncomfortable were allowed to reschedule their trip, the cruise line said.

Norovirus outbreak on Vision of the Seas


Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas returned to Port Everglades, Florida today after 105 guests and 3 crew members contracted norovirus on the cruise ship.

"Vision of the Seas experienced an elevated number of persons with a gastrointestinal illness on its last sailing," Royal Caribbean International said in a statement. 

Royal Caribbean crew members gave out over-the-counter medication to those affected by the virus.

An official statement by Royal Caribbean discussed what steps the cruise line as taken to prevent the problem in the future, "At Royal Caribbean International we have high health standards for all our guests and crew.  During the sailing, we conduct enhanced cleaning onboard the ship, to help prevent the spread of the illness."

When the Vision of the Seas docked in Port Everglades, the company said it conducted an extensive sanitizing onboard the ship and within the cruise terminal, to help prevent any illness from affecting the subsequent sailing.

"Guests received a letter at boarding that asks if they have experienced any gastrointestinal symptoms within the last three days," Royal Caribbean officials said.

Norovirus outbreak on Voyager of the Seas


About 135 passengers aboard Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas became sick along with eight crew members as the ship returned from New Zealand to Sydney.

"Those affected by the short-lived illness have responded well to over the counter medication administered on board the ship"' Royal Caribbean said in a statement late yesterday.

The illness caused big lines at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay to stretch hundred of meters as frustrated new passengers were kept waiting for hours. Royal Caribbean says the long lines were mostly a product of new passengers choosing to ignore staggered boarding times.

Those boarding Voyager of the Seas were given a statement which gave the norovirus outbreak as the reason for the delay in boarding.

Passengers were asked to fill out forms revealing whether they had recently suffered from gastro or flu-like symptoms. Those who ticked `yes' were taken aside for medical check ups.

Rhapsody of the Seas hit with norovirus


The Fiji Health Ministry is reporting Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas has been the site of 51 cases of norovirus, which prompted health officials to quarantine the cruise ship as it was docked at Suva Wharf.

The ship, which has 2300 passengers and 870 crew, took measures immediately to combat the virus as soon as the crew received reports of cases.

Affected passengers have been isolated and no one is allowed to enter the quarantined area on the ship except the medical response team.

According to Doctor Joe Koroivueta, Rhapsody of the Seas will leave for Noumea, New Caledonia tonight.

Norovirus causes symptoms such as symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.  It's spread from person to person, through contaminated food or water, and by touching contaminated surfaces.  It's important for every cruise passenger on every cruise ship to take steps to avoid getting norovirus.

Royal Caribbean passengers win court battle over norovirus outbreak on cruise ship


Three cruise ship passengers from Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas won a court decision in Brazil after seeking compensation following a norovirus outbreak aboard the ship back in March 2010.

The ship departed from Port Santos, Brazil when 348 people onboard were contracted norovirus.  Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea were some of the symptoms experienced by the passengers, who resorted to the court system to be reimbursed for the damage.

The attorney that specializes in consumer law, Ferrette Sueli Maria Gomes, was approached by three passengers dissatisfied with the consequences of the outbreak. 

One of the plantiffs was Freire Lourdes Domingues, 79, who was infected and claims to have almost died because of the  norovirus. The other two passengers who sought legal action felt changed in Vision's itinerary caused greater injury to them since they were prevented from getting off the ship at their destinations.  The trip included stops in Buzios, in Rio de Janeiro and Ilhabela in São Paulo coast. 

According to the lawyer, setting the value to be paid for each passenger fell to the judge, as Royal Caribbean did not offer to make a deal. The only deal the company was offering was a 25% discount on a future trip. 

Royal Caribbean had to pay about $33,000, including punitive damages and reimbursement of passages (R$ 2,994.00 each). The compensation was increased to Lourdes, due to contracting gastroenteritis. She received $12,000 in damages only. The other two tourists won £6,000 each by the hassles. 

Among the complaints made by passengers, is there being only one doctor to serve the people, without priority for children and seniors. Furthermore, it was alleged that the norovirus can spread via unwashed food and water, which was a possible sign of poor hygiene. 

When asked about the ruling, Royal Caribbean said in a written statement it is appealing the verdict. Royal Caribbean also announced that as soon as the symptoms were detected on board the Vision of the Seas,  the ship immediately reported the incident to the ANVISA and "took all actions necessary to ensure the welfare of the guests on board." 

The company also noted that viral outbreaks can not be directly related to the ship. "A virus from external sources can be installed on the vessel human transmission and thus did not cause any problems as food and water on the ship."

Royal Caribbean also mentioned that all ships coming to Brazil are subject to the control of various organs and meet strict standards, controls and taxes from international organizations. 

How to avoid getting norovirus on your cruise


Recently another Royal Caribbean ship was affected by a norovirus outbreak, where many passengers became very sick.  Over the years we've heard reports of outbreaks on other ships but there are definite precautions you can take to avoid getting sick yourself.

What is norovirus?

Norovirus is a virus that causes acute gastroenteritis.  This means people will have symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.

Noroviruses spread from person to person, through contaminated food or water, and by touching contaminated surfaces. Norovirus is recognized as the leading cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States. Outbreaks can happen to people of all ages and in a variety of settings.

How to prevent contracting norovirus

Norovirus is commonly contracted by

  • Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus (someone gets stool or vomit on their hands, then touches food or drink).
  • Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth.
  • Having direct contact with a person who is infected with norovirus (for example, when caring for someone with norovirus or sharing foods or eating utensils with them).

Generally speaking, people with norovirus illness are contagious from the moment they begin feeling sick until at least 3 days after they recover.

You can prevent getting sick by

  • Washing your hands, especially after using the restrooms and before eating or preparing food. 
  • Avoid shaking hands during outbreaks.
  • Do not prepare food for others if you become sick for up to 3 days after becoming sick.
  • Wash laundry that may be contaminated with vomit or stool.