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Royal Caribbean International's Explorer of the Seas hit by illness

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More than 300 Royal Caribbean International passengers and crew members on the Explorer of the Seas ship show symptoms of norovirus, according to NBC News on Jan. 26. U.S. health officials are heading to the vessel to check into the outbreak that has left hundreds of passengers and crew members dealing with the illness.

The issue took place on a 10-day cruise that left Cape Liberty, N.J. and headed toward St. Maarten. There are 3,050 passengers and 1,165 crew members on the vessel, and so far 281 passengers and 22 crew members have shown symptoms of norovirus. Health officials will board the Royal Caribbean International ship in the Virgin Islands Sunday to investigate.

Luckily reports indicate that so far those who have fallen ill have responded well to the medications available on the ship. The cause of the illness outbreak is unknown so far. The Explorer of the Seas stopped in San Juan, Puerto Rico for an intensive cleaning. Norovirus, which causes acute gastrointestinal issues, is commonly spread via contaminated food and water or infected people.

This latest Royal Caribbean International issue is just the latest in a long string of challenges on cruise ships to hit headlines over the past couple of years. Hopefully in this case those affected will recover quickly, and others will remain healthy aboard the Explorer of the Seas.