More than 270 people are sick with norovirus on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship

Ruth Peterkin/ShutterstockThe Oasis of the Seas.
  • Over 270 passengers and crew members became sick with norovirus on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship this week.
  • Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas’ current trip through the islands of the Caribbean has been cut short by one day, and passengers will be refunded, according to reports.
  • An expedition to Jamaica was canceled because the country would not allow them off the ship.

Over 270 passengers and crew members became sick with norovirus on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship this week, USA Today-affiliated Florida Today reports. On the 9,000-passenger vessel, at least 277 people have been affected, including guests and staff.

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas’ current trip through the Caribbean, which began on Sunday, has been cut short by a day, and passengers will be refunded, Owen Torres, a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean, told INSIDER

“Oasis of the Seas will return to Port Canaveral a day early after an episode of gastrointestinal illness,” Torres said. “A total of 277 guests and crew members have been affected since the ship departed on Jan 6 – about 3.3 per cent of the people aboard the ship.”

Earlier on its trip, passengers could no disembark on an expedition to Jamaica, as officials would not allow passengers off the ship and into the country. But the virus seemingly first spread as early as Tuesday, per Yahoo Lifestyle.

People aboard the cruise detailed their experiences on social media.

Read more: Royal Caribbean’s CEO says passengers would stop getting norovirus if they would just wash their hands

Norovirus is a contagious gastrointestinal virus with symptoms comparable to food poisoning or the flu.

In a 2018 interview with Business Insider, Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley said that the highly contained environment of a cruise ship makes the spaces the perfect breeding ground for the virus to grow and spread. But he did offer one tip for stopping to the common virus before it can spread.

“The simple fact is that if people washed their hands, there would be no norovirus,” Bayley said.

In the meantime, Royal Caribbean is working to contain the current outbreak, Torres told INSIDER.

“We think the right thing to do is to get everyone home early rather than have guests worry about their health,” Torres said. “Returning on Saturday also gives us more time to completely clean and sanitize the ship before her next sailing. Our guests sail with us to have great vacations, and we are sorry this cruise fell short.”

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