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Photo: Royal Caribbean International

Fast turnaround for virus-stricken cruise ship

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas sets sail just one day after offloading 500 norovirus-hit passengers and crew.

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship stricken by a norovirus outbreak that felled almost 500 passengers and crew has welcomed its next passengers after just one day in port.

As the sickness spread last week, the ship’s captain confined more than a hundred people to their quarters, the virtual channel FOX 35 reports.

“To be honest, for the last four days we’ve kind of felt like caged dogs,” said passenger William Gleed as Oasis of the Seas docked at Port Canaveral, Florida.

“There’s people being sick. We’re being told little information, but granted, Royal Caribbean did clean the ship a lot.”

Passengers began feeling sick after the vessel, which has capacity for 5,400 guests at double occupancy, departed Port Canaveral for the Caribbean the weekend before, NBC News reported. All of the passengers will get a refund due to the outbreak.

Norovirus is considered “very contagious” by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, picked up from contaminated food or water or by touching contaminated surfaces. Symptoms include stomach pain, nausea and diarrohea.

It is not the first time the virus has taken hold of a cruise ship. There were 11 outbreaks of gastrointestinal illnesses on cruise ships in 2018, five of which were found to be norovirus. Royal Caribbean’s last outbreak was in 2017 on Independence of the Seas, CNN reports.

Scrubbing the decks
Employees were seen scrubbing the ship to clean it, both during the voyage and after it docked. Tom Krawczyk, one of the new guests boarding on Sunday, said he was confident Oasis is now ship-shape.

“We feel this is about the cleanest ship we’ve ever been on. We have absolutely no concern at all,” he told FOX 35.

Other passengers praised Royal Caribbean for its handling of the outbreak.

“I think their customer service was top notch,” said John Michael Brewer, boarding the ship, “They came back a day early, cleaned the entire boat, and everyone got refunded.”

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