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Royal Caribbean Cruise Ends Over Vomiting Bug

Holidaymakers have had their Caribbean cruise cut short after hundreds of passengers and crew members contracted a vomiting bug.
The Royal Caribbean ship was forced to dock in New Jersey two days early after 600 of the 4,215 people on board suffered vomiting and diarrhoea.

The decision to end the cruise came after officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) boarded the 15-deck Explorer of the Seas during its US Virgin Islands stop.

It is the second major sickness outbreak reported on a cruise liner this month.

A statement from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd said: "New reports of illness have decreased day-over-day, and many guests are again up and about.

"Nevertheless, the disruptions caused by the early wave of illness means that we were unable to deliver the vacation our guests were expecting.

"After consultation between our medical team and representatives of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we think the right thing to do is to bring our guests home early, and use the extra time to sanitise the ship even more thoroughly."

The cause of the illness is not yet clear, though symptoms are consistent with norovirus, the cruise line said.

According to CDC spokeswoman Bernadette Burden, 564 passengers and 47 crew reported being ill. Many were placed in quarantine.

One of those was Arnee Dodd from Connecticut, who tweeted to friends: "They immediately quarantined every sick person and put a lock down on food and are constantly cleaning everything.

"I've been sick and quarantined but word is 75% of the ship was empty yesterday. Everything I touch goes in a biohazard bag.

"The captain and crew are being amazing!!"

Explorer of the Seas departed from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, on January 21, expecting to be away for 10 days.

Royal Caribbean said the ship would now undergo a "thorough barrier sanitisation programme to make certain that any remaining traces of the illness are eliminated".

The company added it was "taking several steps" to compensate passengers for the shortened trip.

Royal Caribbean is not the only company to battle stomach illness this year.

The CDC said 130 guests and 12 crew on the Norwegian Star became ill during a two-week voyage that departed on January 5.

In March last year, more than 100 people on board another Royal Caribbean liner were affected by a norovirus.

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