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Gastro outbreak aboard cruise ship bound for Sydney hits 182 passengers

December 17, 2015
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22204054751_64cd874348_zTHERE’S something you can get aboard cruise ships that isn’t advertised in the brochures: a violent bout of gastro.

That’s what happened to passengers who docked at Sydney’s international cruise terminal in The Rocks on Wednesday morning.

A total of 182 passengers out of the 3566 on board the luxury Royal Caribbean cruise ship Explorer of the Seas have been struck down by the stomach bug.

The ship’s operator contacted South Eastern Sydney Local Health District before arriving in Sydney at 6am. None of the passengers were taken to hospital.

Explorer of the Seas is Australia’s biggest cruise ship. It offers world-class dining, a surf simulator, ice skating, rock climbing and mini golf. The cruise ship weighs 138,000 tonnes and can accommodate more than 3000 passengers.

It docked at Sydney after travelling to New Zealand. More passengers are due to board at Circular Quay on Wednesday afternoon.

A passenger who disembarked told the Today Show: “Every time you walked in and out of the corridors there were medics going in and out of all the rooms. Just about everybody was sick.”

The ship will undergo extra cleaning to control the outbreak. It’s the third such outbreak

Explorer of the Seas cruise ship: Food poisoning hits 182 passengers bound for Sydney. Last week, 200 passengers were confined to their cabins aboard the Dawn Princess after it left Melbourne bound for New Zealand’s South Island.

Cruise operator Carnival Australia said the ship was subject to “stringent sanitation” measures.

In September, another 100 passengers were struck down by the virus aboard Carnival cruise ship Sea Princess travelling from Singapore to Fremantle.

A passenger named Steve told the ABC he was forced to remain inside his cabin until he recovered.

“I was crook on the third day, I had stomach cramps, and I was confined to my cabin for a couple of days, couldn’t leave my cabin, but I got special food and they released me after two days,” he said.

“The doctor came to my room and he gave me the tablets, and I was fine after 48 hours. They contained (the virus) two or three days after that.”

In January, 162 passengers and 11 crew aboard Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess fell ill one day into a seven-day cruise in the US.

The voyage was cut short by one day due to fog, not illness, but passengers were thankful to disembark early.

Explorer of the Seas cruise ship: Food poisoning hits 182 passengers bound for Sydney

Royal Caribbean provided all guests a 50 per cent refund of their cruise fares.

A spokesperson told news.com.au: “Those affected by the short-lived illness have responded well to over-the-counter medication administered on-board the ship.

“At Royal Caribbean International we have high health standards for all our guests and crew. We have reported this to South East Sydney Local Health District and while docked in Sydney, the ship and terminal will undergo an enhanced cleaning and sanitisation to prevent any illness affecting future cruises.

“All new guests embarking will receive a letter at boarding that asks them to advise if they have experienced any gastrointestinal symptoms within the last three days.

“According to health experts, each year as many as 300 million people worldwide are affected by the gastrointestinal illness known as Norovirus. Only the common cold is more prevalent.”

Published by: News.com.au 16/12/15