A Royal Caribbean cruise ship is returning to port early after nearly 300 passengers became sick with the stomach virus, a company spokesman confirmed to the Washington Examiner Thursday evening.
“Oasis of the Seas will return to Port Canaveral a day early after an episode of gastrointestinal illness. A total of 277 guests and crew members have been affected since the ship departed on Jan 6 — about 3.3 percent of the people aboard the ship,” Royal Caribbean Cruises spokesman Owen Torres wrote in an email.
Patients are being treated by the ship’s medical staff with over-the-counter medicine.
All 9,000 passengers who left Jan. 6 on a seven-day cruise to the Caribbean will receive full refunds.
“We think the right thing to do is to get everyone home early rather than have guests worry about their health,” Torres wrote.
Norovirus is an infectious disease where symptoms show up as soon as 12 hours after being exposed. Those sickened with it may vomit or have diarrhea several times in a day, as well as a fever.
Torres said the decision to turn back a day early will also give ship officials the chance to “completely clean and sanitize” the facility before its next departure.
In 2014, 700 people also came down with norovirus on a Royal Caribbean cruise.