Carnival Liberty will set sail from Ft. Lauderdale at 4 p.m. today for its first cruise since the year's largest outbreak of gastrointestinal illness; the ship has been in the Florida homeport for an extensive two-day cleaning.
During the 16-night (November 3 - November 19) trans-Atlantic voyage from Rome to Ft. Lauderdale, a grand total of 519 passengers (18.5 percent) and 141 crewmembers (12.09 percent) reported symptoms of Norovirus, a highly contagious stomach flu. As a result, Carnival delayed the November 19 cruise by two days and kept the ship in port for disinfection with the assistance of Centers for Disease Control and Protection staffers.
Guests booked on the shortened cruise were offered the chance to sail with a 50 percent refund and 50 percent future cruise credit, or cancel for a full refund and reimbursement of airline change fees (click here for more details). "We are handing out letters and posting notices at embarkation today to again make sure everyone is aware of the issue on the previous voyage," Carnival spokeswoman Jennifer De La Cruz tells us. "It provides a variety of info on Norovirus and also clearly explains again that guests have the option not to sail today."
No compensation was offered to passengers on the trans-Atlantic cruise.
At this point, it is not known how many passengers decided to sail and how many decided to forgo the trip.
"We will be continuing with aggressive cleaning activities throughout the voyage, of course," De La Cruz adds.