Royal Caribbean Shortens Explorer of the Seas Sailing Following Norovirus Outbreak

(1/28) Royal Caribbean has announced all guests currently sailing aboard Explorer of the Seas will receive a 50% refund and a 50% future cruise credit. Guests who were infected by the virus and were confined to their staterooms will receive a future cruise credit equal to the number of days they spent in their stateroom. Guests will also be compensated for any return travel fees or additional charges incurred due to the ship’s early disembarkation.

(1/26) Following an outbreak of norovirus aboard the Explorer of the Seas, Royal Caribbean has opted to shorten the ship’s current sailing so that a deep clean can be performed prior to the next sailing. The latest reports from aboard the ship suggest the number of infected guests is now over 300.

Royal Caribbean has issued a full statement on the shortened sailing:

“Explorer of the Seas will return to Bayonne, New Jersey from its 10-day cruise two days early, after an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness that spiked over the weekend. New reports of illness have decreased day-over-day, and many guests are again up and about. Nevertheless, the disruptions caused by the early wave of illness means that we were unable to deliver the vacation our guests were expecting. After consultation between our medical team and representatives of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we think the right thing to do is to bring our guests home early, and use the extra time to sanitize the ship even more thoroughly. We are sorry for disappointing our guests, and we are taking several steps to compensate them for their inconvenience.

After returning to home port on Wednesday, Jan. 29, we will perform a thorough “barrier” sanitization program on the entire ship to make certain that any remaining traces of the illness are eliminated. It will be the third aggressive sanitizing procedure the ship has undertaken since we became aware of the issue, and will additionally provide a window of more than 24 hours where there are no persons aboard the ship, which is a significant help. Guests scheduled for the next cruise on Explorer of the Seas can be confident that all possible measures will have been taken to prevent further problems.

At this point, it appears that reported illnesses among guests and crew peaked during the first few days of the cruise – though, as is common with many illnesses, some additional cases are to be expected over the course of the week. Our doctors tell us symptoms are consistent with that of norovirus, but that they are awaiting the results of tests to confirm that diagnosis.  Our response included flying additional medical personnel and equipment to meet the ship, and conducting additional sanitizing procedures at two of the ship’s stops.

In the end, however, the number of cases was still higher than any of us want to see. We will be cooperating with authorities and conducting our own internal assessments to make sure we are doing all we can to promote the health and safety of our guests and crew.”

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Mike Faust

Mike Faust is an avid world traveler, often found traversing city streets in Asia and Europe rather than his home city of Boca Raton. Mike has touched down in 39 countries, set sail on 35 cruises, and flown over 400,000 lifetime miles.