Cruise Ship Forced to Return to Port Early Because of Rampant Illness

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A health crisis aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship has forced the vessel to return to port.

According to the cruise line, 277 passengers and crew members on board the Oasis of the Seas have become sick with a wide range of gastrointestinal symptoms. Because of the massive wave of illness, the ship is returning to Port Canaveral on Saturday. This return is one day earlier than its scheduled arrival.

Last Sunday, the ship set sail on a seven-day adventure, featuring stops in Haiti, Mexico, and Jamaica. Cruise passenger Cody Haddap said that he became ill on Tuesday after the ship had spent the day docked in Haiti. Haddap said that he started to feel sick at around 11 pm that evening and has been confined to his stateroom ever since.

Haddap shared a letter that he had received from the cruise line, informing guests of a possible norovirus outbreak. Although the virus is suspected to be the culprit, cruise line officials are still waiting for lab test confirmation. Haddap also said that nobody was allowed to leave the ship when it docked in Jamaica the following day.

Fellow passenger Brenda Torres also commented that she has seen an uptick in sanitation protocol on the ship. From her stateroom, she can see crews working to clean various surfaces on the ship in an effort to stop the spread of the suspected virus.

As one of the newest and most modern ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet, the Oasis of the Seas has a capacity of 8,000 passengers. Based on these numbers, approximately three percent of the ship has fallen ill so far.

Royal Caribbean officials said that all guests will receive a full refund of the fare that they paid to sail. They also said that the ship will undergo a full sanitation protocol upon arrival back at the port and prior to the next scheduled sailing.

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