Two recent cruises by Royal Caribbean saw over 500 passengers on board become sick following outbreaks of illnesses that were stomach related, which in one case led to five people being hospitalized.
After departing from Port Everglades Florida on December 11, of the 5,547 guests on board 332 on the Independence of the Sea took ill with gastrointestinal illness, said a Royal Caribbean spokesperson.
The outbreaks took place less than one month after 209 of 5,796 people aboard Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas reported the same symptoms. The ship made a return trip to Sydney December 7 following the end of a cruise of 15 days that had deported November 23 from Singapore.
A spokesperson from Royal Caribbean said those who had been affected by the illness, which was short-lived, had been treated by the doctors onboard with medication that had been over the counter.
Sanitation experts had been flown in to perform sanitary procedures called enhanced, by the Royal Caribbean spokesperson.
No details were released by the spokesperson from Royal Caribbean as to what type of gastrointestinal illness it was and would not provide the condition of any of the guests who had been hospitalized.
The Australia Department of Health in Tasmania confirmed that five passengers needed to be admitted to the hospitals. Doctors at the hospital said that outbreaks of these types and requests for assistance for cruise passengers are not uncommon on big ships.
However, it was unclear if any of the passengers from the Independence of the Seas had required admittance to the hospital.
The Center for Disease Control in the U.S. tracks reports of gastrointestinal illness on ships that sail to the U.S. from foreign ports.
The outbreak on the Ovation of the Seas is outside the jurisdiction of the CDC due to the location of the ship. The online database at the CDC listed 10 outbreaks in 2017 on ships of where over 3% of the passengers on boards reported diarrheal disease symptoms.
The last listed outbreak on the CDC database involving a cruise with Royal Caribbean was norovirus in February of 2016 on Anthem of the Seas.
The husband of a passenger on Ovation of the Seas who had been hospitalized said that his wife ate undercooked chicken. He said his wife’s condition continued worsening and he thought she would die in front of his eyes.