It is now being reported that there is an apparent norovirus outbreak on board Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Freedom.
5:10pm (5/14): Earlier today there were rumors of a death of a passenger as a result of the Norovirus outbreak. There was in fact a death on board the Carnival Freedom, but it was unrelated to the Norovirus outbreak. Here is the official stateroom from Carnival Cruise Lines…
Carnival Cruise Lines confirms that there was a death on board the Freedom but it appears to be unrelated to the norovirus outbreak as the guest who passed away had other health issues.
4:15 (5/13): One passenger has contacted me saying over 250 passengers were confined to their cabins after they were infected with the Norovirus.
5:55pm Update: I have just received this statement from Carnival Cruise Line’s regarding this incident:
May 12, 2012 – During the current voyage of the Carnival Freedom, which departed from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on May 5 and ends Sunday, May 13, a number of guests and crew have reported symptoms of gastrointestinal illness.
While unconfirmed, the incidences of GI distress being reported are believed to be the result of a Norovirus which is a highly contagious illness easily transmitted person-to-person and via common surfaces. Extensive and vigorous cleaning and disinfection of the vessel with special cleaning agents is being conducted to control any further spread.
Embarkation for Sunday’s voyage, a six-day cruise scheduled to depart at 4 p.m. will likely be delayed so that the ship’s crew can continue the aggressive cleaning and sanitizing protocol.
What is Norovirus? Norovirus is an extremely common and highly contagious virus, which causes gastroenteritis. It is sometimes referred to as the “24-hour stomach bug.” The CDC estimates that Norovirus is the causative agent of some 23 million cases of gastroenteritis in the U.S. annually, however, the vast majority of outbreaks occur on land. Symptoms usually last between one and three days and generally resolve without treatment. For additional information on Norovirus, please visit the CDC website athttp://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/index.html
12:50pm: I reached out to Carnival Cruise Lines today for a comment on the situation, but at the time they were not available.
As of right now there are no actual numbers of how many passengers are affected by this outbreak, but Carnival has scheduled a delayed embarkation tomorrow so the ship can be thoroughly cleaned tomorrow morning. The Carnival Freedom will dock tomorrow morning in Port Everglades, but will now begin embarkation at 1:30pm and will have a later departure. There is no information yet on any itinerary changes.
One member of Cruise Critic (who is on this cruise) posted,
Hey fellow cruisers, we are on the Freedom this week (Southern Caribbean) and there have been numerous reports of Norovirus. Unfortunately, my son and I were both affected but are better now. It was the worst I’ve ever felt in my life, and that is the solemn truth.
I will keep you updated on this developing story.