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It's Officially Norovirus Season Aboard Cruise Ships

January 13, 2010 at 4:25 PM | by | ()

With travelers heading south for the winter and hopping aboard much-anticpated cruises where they eat at communal buffets and are trapped in the same boat as thousands of others, it's no wonder that Norovirus is popping up in the news again. Most recently, the stomach bug hit Cunard Line's massive Queen Victoria while she was off sailing an eight-night transatlantic voyage from Southhampton to New York.

Because the United States has a policy that bars ships from entering a US post if the passengers with Norovirus go over 15% of the ship's populations—an epidemic level&#!51;fears were high on the Queen Victoria that she wouldn't be allowed to dock. However, CruiseCritic reports that only 163 passengers came down with it, equalling "8.7 percent of the 1,874 passengers onboard."

Still, 163 people (and seven crew) coming down with the same terribly vacation-ruining bug is cause for alarm. CruiseCritic also reminds us that is far from the first major outbreak of the winter season:

Earlier this week, the virus made appearances aboard Holland America's Noordam and, most recently, Royal Caribbean's new giant, Oasis of the Seas. Two of U.K.-based Fred. Olsen's ships, Balmoral and Boudicca, were also plagued by the virus during recent Christmas and New Year's sailings

Gross. Cruise lines may be able to throw tons of money into television and magazine advertising to sway people in making vacation decisions, but no amount of money can immediately guarantee their sick tummies will feel better, nor guarantee the Norovirus won't happen again.

Related Stories:
· Norovirus Strikes Again: Cunard Ship May Be Turned Away from US [CruiseCritic]
· 60 Sick on Swine Flu Cruise Off French Riviera [Jaunted]
· The Handshake: Travel's Newest Enemy [Jaunted]
· Travel Health coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: AFP/Telegraph UK]

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