Update 5/13, 3:55 p.m. EDT -- According to a Carnival spokesperson, Carnival Freedom is to depart Sunday at 4 p.m., on schedule. Carnival reports that 150 of 4,448 passengers and crew onboard -- or 3.37% -- were affected by gastrointestinal illness, necessitating a CDC special report.
(8:25 a.m. EDT) -- An unconfirmed number of guests onboard Carnival Freedom's current sailing have reported symptoms of gastrointestinal illness "believed to be the result of a Norovirus," according to a statement from the line.
Cruise Critic member Staplerman, a passenger onboard the May 5 southern Caribbean sailing due into Fort Lauderdale Sunday morning, has also posted about the incident in our forums, warning of "numerous reports of Norovirus".
According to the thread, Carnival has notified guests on Freedom's upcoming sailing, a six-night Caribbean cruise scheduled to depart at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, that boarding has been delayed until 1:30 p.m.
Carnival's statement says delays would allow ship crew to continue an "extensive and vigorous cleaning and disinfection of the vessel with special cleaning agents," which began during the cruise.
Cruise lines are required to report all cases of Noro to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and a "special report" is created when numbers reach 2 percent of a ship's total onboard population. No report is yet available on the CDC Web site. We have requested numbers of those affected from the line, and will update the story when Carnival makes them available.