Our cruise ship lawyers have seen an incredibly high number of Norovirus outbreaks this year, compared to others. While Norovirus, also known as the stomach flu, is extremely common among cruise ship passengers due to its highly contagious properties, the number of outbreaks during the 2012 cruise ship season has been markedly higher than others. The latest outbreak took place onboard a Princess Cruises vessel that was on a 20-day itinerary to Italy. The vessel, the Crown Princess, docked on Saturday in Galveston, Texas after over 100 people became sick with the virus.
According to The Houston Chronicle, roughly 96 passengers and six crewmembers contracted Norovirus while on the ship. Although Norovirus symptoms usually only last about three days and consist of vomiting, diarrhea and fever, complications can arise if victims do not stay adequately hydrated. Even if they are hydrated, though, coming down with Norovirus can completely ruin a victim’s cruise, especially when they are forced to be quarantined in their room to minimize the spread of the illness, which is what happened to the Crown Princess passengers.
Those who became ill with Norovirus were quarantined for three days. They received medical care in their staterooms, which were sanitized three times a day. But while there isn’t much in the ways of treatment for Norovirus (it mostly just runs its course), one passenger explained she felt absolutely horrible.
“I thought I was gonna die,” said 63-year-old Gail Olezene, of San Antonio, TX. Olezene added that she got sick three days after the Crown Princess left for Italy. She was also upset Princess Cruises charged her for the medical care she received onboard the vessel.
“We got sick on their ship, and they charged us to make us better,” Olezene told the Houston Chronicle. “The fact that they charged us anything was outrageous.”
The Crown Princess departed Venice, Italy on Dec. 2 and arrived in Galveston the following Saturday. The Thursday after the ship docked, officials with Princess Cruises released a statement saying the number of passengers sick with Norovirus aboard the ship had returned to normal levels. Princess spokeswoman Karen Candy added that the ship would be disinfected in Galveston.
At least the line did its part to prevent the spread of the disease. Passenger Cathy Michaud, 65, explained the ship was sanitized after the outbreak, and crewmembers took extra precautions to minimize the risk of others contracting the virus.
“We couldn’t even touch the salt shakers,” she said.
Rosemary Nonhof, a 67-year-old from Spring, Texas, had one of the best outlooks on the matter, saying she enjoyed the trip, even though she became sick with Norovirus.
“I’d rather be sick on a cruise than sick at home,” Nonhof said.
However, not everyone shares her sentiment. Anyone who becomes sick onboard a cruise ship due to any negligence on the cruise operator’s part may be entitled to claim damages and have their costs reimbursed. Contacting an experienced cruise ship lawyer drastically increases victims’ chances of obtaining justice for their pain and suffering.