A cruise ship returned to port in Texas one day early on Thursday night after scores of passengers fell ill, the third time in recent weeks that a cruise has been marred by mass sickness among passengers.
The Caribbean Princess docked in Houston on Thursday evening, a full day earlier than scheduled, with almost 200 passengers and crewmembers reporting gastrointestinal symptoms,the Houston Chronicle reports. According to a preliminary report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the passengers are suspected to have contracted norovirus, a highly contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Norovirus was also blamed for an outbreak earlier this week that affected 700 people on a Royal Caribbean cruise. This outbreak was the third reported in 2014; in all of 2013, there were nine.
When the ship docked at 9 p.m. on Thursday, passengers were reportedly heading either home or to hotels, not hospitals.
“We don’t believe anybody will be ill getting off the ship,” said Julie Benson, a spokesperson for Princess Cruises, according to the Chronicle. “The ship did a great job stopping the spread of illness. The number of people who were ill continued to decrease dramatically over the last couple of days.”
The ship’s passengers received overnight accommodations in Houston as well as 20 percent credit towards a future cruise. The Princess ship will reportedly depart again at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Benson said the cruise ship would be thoroughly sanitized before it departs.