Sunday, February 5, 2012


Cruise ships participating in the Vessel Sanitation Program are required to report the total number of gastrointestinal (GI) illness cases that have occurred on board before the ship arrives at a U.S. port when it has come from a foreign port, and is engaged in a voyage of 3-21 days. Only cruise ships carrying more than 100 passengers are required to report.

Statistics for 2011 show that Princess Cruises had more confirmed Norovirus outbreaks than any other cruise ship line during 2011:

Sea Princess (5/30-6/09). 144 sickened. Cause: Norovirus
Sea Princess (5/20-5/30). 128 sickened. Cause: Norovirus
Coral Princess (5/04-5/19). 64 sickened. Cause: Norovirus

In addition to Norovirus, there was also an outbreak of Enterotoxegenic E. coli on Coral Princess.

But Princess Cruises is not the only cruise line with GI illness outbreaks. Almost all cruise lines have had them on one trip or another, though not necessarily every cruise or every year. In all the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recorded 11 outbreaks of GI illness on cruise ships visiting U.S. ports in 2011. Six of these were due to Norovirus, two to E.coli and three had an unknown cause (which could have been Norovirus).

So, as I have advised in previous posts, check the record of your particular cruise line and the ship itself before you book. Take a look at the CDC site at:

Outbreaks can and do occur on both the cheapest and the most expensive of cruises, but you'll notice that some of the ships have a particularly bad record. Don't book on those.

To your good health,

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