The gastro-plagued Sun Princess returned to Brisbane today with a new boat-load of sick passengers.
The cruise ship, operated by Princess Cruises, which is owned by industry giant Carnival, docked after a 14-day trip around New Zealand today with as many as 176 ill passengers on board. This comes just over a week after the cruise ship returned from trip to Papua New Guinea with 90 sick passengers.
Queensland Health’s Metro North Public Health Unit confirmed that norovirus was the cause of the illness, media reported.
Norovirus can take from 12 to as much as 48 hours to develop. Symptoms usually include vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps, and can include fevers, chills and head and stomach aches.
The Courier Mail reported that passengers embarking on the Sun Princess’s next cruise – the ship’s heading to Vanuatu next, departing this evening – were handed a health warning on how to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Princess Cruises website says the Sun Princess can accommodate 2,000 guests and almost 1,000 crew and was refurbished in April 2016.
The company issued a statement saying that the risk of norovirus is 750 times greater on land than on sea and that symptoms last only one to three days.
“Most guests on ‘Sun Princess’ just completed cruise were unaffected by illness. On any given day during the cruise 12 to 15 of the 2,000 guests were in self isolation while symptoms ran their course before they returned to their usual cruise activities. At no stage during the cruise was there a large number of guests ill at any one time,” the statement said.
Princess Cruises said that the departure for Vanuatu had been delayed to allow a deep clean of the ship and terminal, as had been done before the cruise to New Zealand.
Queensland Health recommends some simple steps to cut your chances of catching norovirus:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Wash fruits and vegetables and steam oysters before eating them
- Use detergent and hot water to wipe down any area that may have been in contact with vomit or faeces
- Ensure the area around the toilet as well as any other contaminated surfaces are cleaned with a bleach-based household cleaner
- Immediately remove and wash contaminated clothing or linens with soap and hot water
This article originally published on Starts at 60.