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Dream cruise ends early for 3,000-plus passengers on virus-stricken RCCL ship

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Talk about a real buzz kill-- there are more than 3,000 disappointed passengers whose dream vacation came to abrupt end today after Royal Caribbean Cruises put a halt to a 10-day cruise aboard the Explorer of the Seas on which more than 500 people came down with norvirus-like symptoms.

We reported the story yesterday that 300 people were stricken, however new figures released upped the figure to 564. Today according to a story on AOL, RCCL announced it has ended the 10-day cruise early. “The Miami, Florida-based company canceled the voyage shortly after officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention boarded the Explorer of the Seas during its U.S. Virgin Islands port call to investigate the illness and evaluate the outbreak response,” reported AOL.

"New reports of illness have decreased day-over-day, and many guests are again up and about. Nevertheless, the disruptions caused by the early wave of illness means that we were unable to deliver the vacation our guests were expecting," Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said in a statement.

The decision to end the trip came after consultation between CDC officials and members of the company's medical team, the company said. In case you missed it, here’s an excerpt from yesterday’s report:

AOL and other news sources are reporting that “U.S. health officials are going on board Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas where a mysterious illness hit more than 300 people (crew and passengers). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 281, or nearly 10 percent, of the 3,050 passengers, and 22 crew members, aboard the luxury liner fell ill.

The AOL report said that company spokeswoman Janet Diaz said CDC officials are expected to soon board the behemoth ship in St. Thomas. According to sources the ship underwent an extensive sanitizing in Puerto Rico.

Because of the seriousness of these outbreaks and unfortunately frequency, every ship afloat today is equipped with hand sanitizers and notices requesting passengers and crew to wash their hands thoroughly. On a recent Celebrity cruise there crew members stood in front of entryways to dining venues to spray passenger’s hands. When a passenger reports symptoms similar to norovirus cruise lines usually quarantine them. Yours truly experienced norovirus-like symptoms on a cruise in 2008 and was quickly confined to her cabin and treated by the ship’s doctor and a nurse at no charge. Once my fever and other ailments abated I was allowed to walk around the ship.

According to news reports passengers who were stricken have been treated with( and responded well) to over-the-counter medications or symptoms of the norovirus that include vomiting and diarrhea, which is what the cruise ship passengers have reported. The virus is fast-spreading especially in close quarters such as cruise ships and schools. .

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