Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control boarded a Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. ship in the Virgin Islands today to assess the situation after hundreds of passengers and crew became sick.
The agency said in a report on its website last week that 281 of 3,050 passengers aboard the Explorer of the Seas had gastrointestinal illnesses such as diarrhea. Twenty-two of the vessel’s 1,165 crew members also were sick.
CDC spokeswoman Bernadette Burden said agency personnel will meet with the ship’s crew and medical staff in St. Thomas to get an updated case count, as well as review and validate the initial reports of sickness.
“This isn’t an unusual occurrence,” Burden said in a telephone interview. “We often meet up with cruise ships in mid-voyage.”
Royal Caribbean didn’t respond to messages left with an answering service by Bloomberg News seeking comment.
The cruise left Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J., on Jan. 21 headed for the Caribbean, according to the CDC.
The Associated Press reported the ship went through “extensive and thorough sanitizing” during its previous port of call in Puerto Rico. Passengers and crew who felt ill were responding to over-the-counter medication being distributed onboard, AP said.
Royal Caribbean is set to post its fourth-quarter results tomorrow. The company is expected to post a profit of 18.5 cents a share, according to the mean estimate of 25 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
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