The 5500 odd passengers on board the Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship had left the Port Everglades, Florida, in high spirits. It was the Independence of the Seas on a five-night journey to destinations in Labadee and Jamaica. By the time the guests had properly settled in, the charm of the trip was marred by illness. It was an unpleasant experience for the passengers.

Daily Mail UK reports that more than 300 passengers of the cruise ship faced stomach-related illnesses described as gastrointestinal sickness probably caused by norovirus.

The authorities called in their sanitation experts to take immediate action to control the situation.

Chaotic situation on board

Those who were affected suffered from bouts of vomiting and diarrhea and the medical teams on board the cruise ship treated them with over-the-counter medications. The medics were overburdened because of the large numbers, and many patients had to wait in queue to get their medicines.

The doctors advised the guests and crew to wash their hands frequently which is the best defense against such virus attacks.

The Royal Caribbean has confirmed that it had taken intensive sanitary procedures to reduce the risk of spread of the disease and assured that the ship, Independence of the Seas, will be subjected to additional cleaning procedures before it proceeds on its next cruise.

A spokesman of the company informed that nearly 300 million people are affected by Norovirus all over the world.

The charm was lost

When anyone books a berth on a cruise ship for a five-day outing to exotic places, he wants to let down his hair, and enjoy the brief respite from routine activities.

He wants to meet people, strike up friendships, interact with them, and exchange thoughts. He does not want to remain confined to bed to swallow pills when he should be tasting new dishes.

Unfortunately, the passengers of the Independence of the Seas had an experience that they will remember for a long time. Norovirus is contagious and, in spite of the cleanliness of the ship, it could have come on board via some passenger or his belongings.

It is not a life-threatening disease but, it leads to embarrassment when people begin to throw up in the open. The effect is believed to remain for nearly 72 hours which is a huge loss in a five-night cruise since it spoils the fun.

NBC News adds that there was a similar incident reported on another Royal Caribbean ship in November. It was the Ovation of the Seas ship, in which 209 passengers out of the 5,796 people on board suffered. The cruise ship had left Singapore on Nov. 23 and returned to Sydney on Dec. 7 after a 14-night cruise.

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