Sick Ship: Passengers fall ill on a Caribbean cruiseliner

MIAMI, USA, July 31, 2006 – Gastrointestinal illness again struck a Royal Caribbean cruise ship late last week with some 227 passengers falling prey to the virus.

Royal Caribbean spokesman Michael Sheehan confirmed the illnesses this weekend noting that vomiting and diarrhea first struck six passengers last Wednesday aboard the ship. It subsequently spread.

The illness is believed to have been caused by noroviruses or a group of viruses that cause the “stomach flu” or gastroenteritis in people. Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas was returning from a nine-day Caribbean cruise with calls to the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands and St. Maarten.

It is the second reported outbreak of the illness this year with some 303 on board falling victim to the virus in January.

Mariner of the Seas, with a total length of 1,020 feet and a weight of 138,000 tons holds a capacity of 3,114 passengers.

Cruise ships have dominated the news since last year with several negative occurrences, including recently, the titling of the Crown Princess following a return trip from the Caribbean and the disappearance of passengers from aboard cruises.

They include the July 5, 2005 disappearance of George Smith, IV from the Brilliance of the Seas while the ship was sailing in the Mediterranean Sea on a 12-day cruise enroute to Turkey. And in December 2005, Canadian Jill Begora, 59, who was last seen by her husband as Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Sea, approached the port of Nassau in the Bahamas. (

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