South Florida-based cruise ship returning early after gastrointestinal outbreak

CDC says 299 passengers, 22 crew members on Caribbean Princess have fallen ill

The Caribbean Princess sets sail, June 9, 2018, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Jesus Aranguren, AP Images for Princess Cruises)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A South Florida-based cruise ship is cutting its voyage short after a gastrointestinal outbreak.

Princess Cruises said Monday that the Caribbean Princess will be returning to Port Everglades early “out of an abundance of caution due to guests reporting symptoms consistent with a mild case of gastrointestinal illness.”

The ship, which is in the midst of a 14-day cruise in the Caribbean Sea, is scheduled to return to Port Everglades at 7 a.m. Thursday.

“This is a highly unusual development and we share the disappointment of our guests,” the cruise line said in a statement. “However, the health and safety of our guests and crew is our top priority, and in working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it was decided out of an abundance of caution, in this specific instance, to discontinue the cruise.”

According to the CDC, 299 passengers and 22 crew members have fallen ill with symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea.

Princess Cruises said there are no cases of coronavirus identified among the 4,196 people on the ship.

All guests will receive a 50% refund and a future cruise credit valued at 50% of the cost.

Upon its return, the Caribbean Princess will be sanitized and is expected to resume its travel schedule with a Feb. 16 departure from Port Everglades.