Cruise ship returns with sick passengers

Third outbreak of norovirus in one week

By Constance Jones - Anchor

PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. - Thousands of passengers onboard the Crown Princess returned four days early from their cruise after another norovirus outbreak. 

Princess Cruises said 198 passengers and 62 crew members on board the Crown Princess got sick with the gastrointestinal virus.

Poll: Would you still cruise?

This is the second outbreak of norovirus on the Crown Princess in just the past week.

Last Saturday, the ship pulled into Port Everglades with 364 sick passengers and 30 sick crew members.  Crews cleaned and disinfected the ship for hours before allowing the new passengers on board, but apparently the cleaning didn't work. 

The ship left Port Everglades Saturday night, but the new passengers began getting sick immediately.

"I was sick," passenger Irene Pepper said. "You don't think you could be that sick and live."

Another passenger, Lois Nawrocki, said she had "vomiting, diarrhea -- you really, really had to go."

The Crown Princess returned to port Thursday morning, three days earlier than planned.  The cruise was supposed to last seven days.

In a statement, Princess Cruise Lines said: "We sincerely regret having to cut short our passengers' cruise vacations because of this highly-unusual situation.  We will, of course, be refunding their cruise fare, arranging flights home, including covering change fees if air was not booked through Princess, providing hotel accommodations if necessary, and offering a 25% future cruise credit."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is stepping in to help with intensive disinfecting.  The Crown Princess will be thoroughly cleaned for the next 48 hours.

Another Princess ship, the Ruby Princess, also had an outbreak of the norovirus onboard last week.

Copyright 2012 by Post Newsweek. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.