Over 190 cruise passengers have been struck down by gastrointestinal illness during a two-week cruise on board the Ovation of the Seas, owned by Royal Caribbean International.
The cruise liner said that the ship finishing a 14-night repositioning cruise as over those two weeks, 195 cases of gastro were reported – representing 3.35 percent of the guests and crew onboard.
“Those affected by the short-lived illness were treated by our ship’s doctors with over-the-counter medication, and we hope all our guests feel better quickly,” a company statement reads.
The 2016-built cruise ship arrived today in Hobart, capital of Australia’s island state of Tasmania, where the local health authorities were contacted for assistance.
The cruise ship was using established medical and infection control protocols to manage ill passengers and limit the spread of infection, Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Service informed.
These have included “intensive sanitary procedures to minimize the risk of any further issues”, according to Royal Caribbean.
“It is not uncommon for ships that carry large numbers of passengers and crew – in this case more than 5,000 – to experience a level of illness very similar to that of the normal population,” Director of Tasmania’s Public Health Dr. Mark Veitch said.
“Outbreaks of highly infectious conditions such as gastro and respiratory illness can also occur in cruise ships, where a population the size of a medium-sized town mixes closely together.
“The ship informed us that a small number of passengers who were likely to require transfer to hospital for medical conditions not necessarily linked to gastroenteritis.
“Again, it is common for cruise ships to request additional medical assistance for more seriously ill passengers.”
Veitch said a total of five passengers received treatment at the Royal Hobart Hospital.
Royal Caribbean said that upon arrival into port in Sydney, the ship and terminal will be “comprehensively sanitized and cleansed to help prevent the spread of illness, resulting in a delay to boarding for new guests.”
The ship, carrying 5,824 passengers and crew on board, departed Singapore on November 23.
Based on its latest AIS data, the ship left Hobart and it is underway using engine in the Tasmanian Sea.