The cruise ship Crown Princess travels into Port Canaveral, Florida in this July 18, 2006 file photo. (Photo : REUTERS/JOE SKIPPER/FILES)
Once again, a norovirus outbreak has afflicted some passengers of the Crown Princess, which is operated by Carnival Corporation as part of the Princess Cruises fleet.
"At least 158 of 3,009 passengers and 14 of 1,160 crew members came down with the virus aboard the Crown Princess during a 28-day cruise that docked in Los Angeles on Sunday," CNN reported. "This ship had sailed from Los Angeles to Hawaii and Tahiti."
This outbreak is actually the second time that the disease had affected the Crown Princess within the span of a year.
"Over the last few days, the ship began seeing an increased number of gastrointestinal illnesses, caused by norovirus (commonly referred to as the stomach flu)," Princess Cruises spokeswoman Susan Lomax said in an emailed message. "In response, we have enacted our stringent disinfecting protocols developed in conjunction with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which includes an extensive deep cleaning of the ship and the terminal in Los Angeles on Sunday before the ship embarks on its next voyage."
"In April, 129 people on the same ship contracted norovirus during a seven-day cruise off the California coast," Time recalled.
The same ship had also been affected by the same outbreak two times in 2012. The outbreaks were separated by only a couple of weeks. The first instance plagued about 400 passengers, while the second flare up affected about 174 passengers, CBS Miami said.
Considering these facts, it would seem that the cruise liner in question has become a regular norovirus target. However, it is not the only ship to have encountered this health issue. According to Forbes in April this year, there had been about 8 virus outbreaks in cruise liners within a three-month timeframe.
The incidences involved two Holland America ships, a Royal Caribbean ship, and a Princess Cruise ship. Cunard, Crystal, Prestige, Celebrity Cruises, and Lindblad Expeditions had also been similarly affected.
These outbreaks had reportedly affected cruise travel, with a Harris poll showing that as much as 54% saying they were "less likely to take a cruise than they were a year ago."
"The same majority rated air travel 'much safer' than cruise travel," Forbes noted.
According to CNN, norovirus infections is not isolated on sea - it also afflicts many on land. However, health officials monitor it on cruise liners, which is why there is more frequent reporting of outbreaks on ships.
"Norovirus is known for being quite contagious. It causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea," the news source said. "It is passed in person-to-person contact and can spread more easily in closed quarters."