Two Florida bound cruise ships have suffered outbreaks of a norovirus affecting more than 200 people.
Passengers on the Ruby Princess and the Crown Princess, both bound for South Florida, were reporting gastrointestinal illnesses, the operator of both cruise ships, Princess Cruise Lines, told the Associated Press on Saturday.
The Crown Princess, returning from a seven-day cruise, had reportedly docked at Port Everglades on Saturday with a total of 140 passengers and 18 crew members affected by the illness, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain.
The Ruby Princess was scheduled to dock Sunday morning with another 81 passengers and nine crew members struck by the highly contagious gastrointestinal illness, the AP reported.
Spokeswoman Julie Benson said the cases do not appear to be related, and the cause had not yet been determined.
The LA Times wrote that outbreaks are hardly the first for the cruise ship industry.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned prospective cruise ship passengers of the dangers of cruise ship travel in a document titled "Facts About Noroviruses on Cruise Ships."
It says: “Noroviruses are found in the stool or vomit of infected people and on infected surfaces that have been touched by ill people. Outbreaks occur more often where there are more people in a small area, such as nursing homes, restaurants, catered events, and cruise ships."
As a result of the outbreaks, the deprture times for both cruise ships have been delayed, the company said.