Jan. 12 (UPI) — The Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas returned at its home port in Central Florida on Saturday one day earlier than scheduled because of an outbreak that sickened nearly 500 people.
The 6,823 passengers got off the shop Saturday morning in Port Canaveral, WKMG-TV reported.
Around 6 percent of the passengers, 402 people, contracted the norovirus, an infection sometimes referred to as the “stomach flu.” It can cause diarrhea and vomiting for up to three days.
On Thursday, Royal Caribbean officials reported that 250 people on board had become ill after the ship’s port of call in Haiti. Stops in Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico, were canceled for an early return Saturday at 4:30 a.m.
The cruise was supposed to last seven days.
“It started off great. We went to Haiti. It was lovely,” William Gleed, who came from London with his wife and 1-year-old daughter for a Honeymoon trip, told Florida Today. “It all went wrong in Jamaica. None of us were allowed off the ship.
“To be honest, for the last four days, we’ve kind of felt like caged dogs.”
Sick passengers were quarantined and they disembarked separately.
The staff began sterilizing the ship.
“They were stringent about hand washing and cleaning down everything constantly: railing, rooms, changing sheets all the time,” Diane Bender said. “As long as you washed your hands, you were good.”
Despite the inconveniences, Bender said “It was a good trip. We had a great time.”
And all passengers were refunded their fares.
“I need a vacation from my vacation,” Ariana VanHaaster, who booked for her family of seven, told WKMG-TV.
She said her son got sick Monday night after reboarding from Haiti.
“Shortly when we got back on, hundreds of people started to vomit,” Ariana VanHaaster said. “By then the medical facility was filled with people vomiting all over the floor, projectile vomiting. It was not a place to be.”