Norovirus: Nearly 200 sick in outbreaks on Princess, Royal Caribbean ships, CDC says

FILE - Tourists crowd upper decks and stateroom balconies as the Anthem of the Seas owned by Royal Caribbean International on Aug. 9, 2023, in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Horacio Villalobos#Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Nearly 200 passengers on U.S. cruise ships suffered from diarrhea and vomiting in norovirus outbreaks in April, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC reported that 94 of the 2,532 (3.71%) passengers on Princess Cruises’ Sapphire Princess ship reported getting sick during its current voyage. The 32-day, roundtrip cruise began on April 5 and ends on May 7, according to the cruise tracking and information site CruiseMapper

Another 20 of the 1,066 crew members on board also reported getting sick, the CDC said.

On Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas ship, 67 of the 1,993 (3.36%) total passengers on board became ill during a voyage that began on April 8 and ended on April 22, according to the agency. Two crew members aboard also got sick. 

In both of the norovirus outbreaks, the main symptoms were diarrhea and vomiting, the CDC said.

Princess Cruises told FOX Television Stations that "at the first sign" of an increase in passengers reporting gastrointestinal illnesses, "we immediately initiated additional enhanced sanitization procedures to interrupt the person-to-person spread of this virus."

"Our sanitization program, includes disinfection measures, isolation of ill passengers and communication to passengers about steps they can take to stay well while onboard," the company told FOX Television Stations.

Royal Caribbean International did not immediately return a request for comment, but the CDC said in its notice that the company also took several steps in response to the outbreak – including isolating the sick passengers and crew members and "increased cleaning and disinfection procedures." 

RELATED: 'Vampire facials' at unlicensed spa likely resulted in HIV infections: CDC

Cruise ships expose passengers to high volumes of people and new environments, which can "create the risk for illness from contaminated food, or water or, more commonly, through person-to-person contact," the CDC says. 

The agency recommends that anyone feeling sick should report their illness. If it happens before the voyage, travelers can ask their cruise line about any possible alternative cruising options. 

Those on board should wash their hands often to prevent illness, as well as get plenty of rest and stay hydrated. 

This story was reported from Cincinnati.