The Royal Caribbean cruise liner Grandeur of the Seas returned to Baltimore, US, a day early after more than 200 passengers and crew members became sick. The cruise was originally scheduled to return to Baltimore on Tuesday. It departed on January 24.
The illness, including vomiting and diarrhea, is believed to be norovirus, a potentially serious contagion that can spread from person to person through contaminated food and water and on contaminated surfaces. Cynthia Martinez, a Royal Caribbean spokeswoman, said the illness affected 193 passengers, or nearly 10 per cent of those on board, and 9 crew members.
The sick were "responding well to over-the-counter medication administered on board the ship," Martinez said in a statement.
Norovirus, which is not related to the flu, is the leading cause of food-borne illness in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 80 per cent of the outbreaks in the country occur from November to April.