Cruise

Gastro outbreak affects Aussie cruise passengers

Lauren Croft

If you thought you’d had a bad cruise experience, this is sure to knock it right out of the park.

If you’ve ever had gastro, you know it can be… pretty gross.

Add being on board a cruise ship with a bunch of other gastro-sufferers and your holiday is ruined.

Luckily(?) for these passengers, their holiday was coming to an end anyway.

Ovation of the Seas, a luxury cruise ship, arrived in Hobart yesterday – but with a few extra germ-passengers among the 5800 passengers and crew.

The ship had been sailing for 14 days from Singapore before docking in Tasmania when 195 separate cases of gastrointestinal illness were reported.

“Those affected by the short-lived illness were treated by our ship’s doctors with over-the-counter medication, and we hope all our guests feel better quickly,” a statement from the company said, according to 9 News.

“Meanwhile, we’re taking steps like intensive sanitary procedures to minimise the risk of any further issues.”

Crew members have since taken extra cleaning measures throughout the cruise, and are shown in one video posted to Facebook where staff look like they’re wearing industrial cleaning suits whilst spraying down the walls. No one wants gastro.

According to 9 News, other social media reports claim some restaurants couldn’t be accessed, with one ‘Bottomless Brunch’ being cancelled.

Royal Caribbean has now made a statement about the incident:

Ovation of the Seas is finishing a 14-night repositioning cruise which departed Singapore on Thursday, 23 November. Over those two weeks, 195 cases of gastro-intestinal illness were reported – representing 3.35 percent of the 5,824 guests and crew onboard.

Those affected by the short-lived illness were treated by our ship’s doctors with over-the-counter medication, and we hope all our guests feel better quickly.

Meanwhile, we’re taking steps like intensive sanitary procedures to minimize the risk of any further issues. Upon arrival into port in Sydney, the ship and terminal will be comprehensively sanitised and cleansed to help prevent the spread of illness, resulting in a delay to boarding for new guests. In addition, crew have undertaken enhanced cleaning practices throughout the cruise, including significantly increasing the already regular sanitization of hand touch surfaces such as door handles, railings and elevator buttons.

We communicate well established educational hand hygiene practices to all passengers and crew. Hand washing basins are provided at key dining venues and hand sanitizers at all restaurants and bar entrances, where crew are located encouraging guests to use the sanitizing hand product.

As a standard industry procedure, upon boarding, all new guests receive a letter at boarding that asks if they have experienced any gastrointestinal symptoms within the last three days. It is imperative that any guests who are experiencing or have experienced any symptoms of illness advise us as soon as possible, so that they can be provided the care required and to prevent any further spread.

There have been numerous reports of multiple strains of gastrointestinal illnesses in the community in recent months. Health experts recommend hand washing as the best defense against stomach viruses, which each year affect as many as 1.8 million in Australia and 300 million people worldwide – only the common cold is more prevalent.

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