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Nearly 500 passengers sick after norovirus outbreak on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas

Oasis of the Seas's one week cruise to the Caribbean was cut short after nearly 500 passengers started showing symptoms of a gastrointestinal illness, the norovirus.

After hundreds of guests reported showing symptoms of the illness, the company decided to cut the cruise short by one day, in part to allow for more time to sanitize the ship for its next cruise tomorrow, January 13th. To avoid the norovirus from spreading further, crew members took extra precautions, including preventing passengers from self-serving at the buffets and cleaning affected public areas.

All passengers will receive a full refund and any affected re-booked flights home will be reimbursed (up to 200$ pp for domestic and 400$ pp for international flights) or a one night’s stay at a hotel will be paid for (up to $200 per stateroom).

This is just crazy. We’re hunkered down in our room because I’m so scared of getting sick.’ - Raycin (Cruise Critic)

Royal Caribbean, among others, has been criticized for numerous norovirus outbreaks on its ships in the past. The cruise industry implemented several countermeasures to avoid future outbreaks of the highly contagious illness. Guests are frequently asked to wash their hands prior to entering dining venues, as one can catch the norovirus simply by touching contaminated surfaces and eating or drinking contaminated food and water.

Although last year saw the lowest amount of cruise ship virus outbreaks, 11 cruises were still affected by it, however none as severe as this one. The total number of sickened passengers was "only" 658 (out of over 28 million annual guests).

In the whole of 2018, 658 cruise passengers were sickened, compared to nearly 500 on this Oasis of the Seas cruise.

Guests can show symptoms such as stomach pains, nausea, and diarrhea. If anybody should show such symptoms, it is important to notify a crew member immediately.

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