Pre-booked tours and port taxes for Grand Turk will be fully refunded to passengers in the form of onboard credit to make up for the missed port.
There is no word yet on the number of passengers affected by what Holland America is calling gastroenteritis (a symptom of Norovirus), but according to the statement, passengers on other undisclosed cruise lines have been affected, too: "Various cruise lines -- including Holland America Line -- have cancelled calls to Grand Turk and are continuing to monitor the situation while the cause of the illnesses is being determined."
Unfortunately, gastrointestinal upset seems to have been making its way onto several ships recently. Three Norovirus outbreaks have already been confirmed this month.
Cruise Critic members are discussing it on the message boards, naming Carnival Miracle as one of the affected ships. In a statement that member MrPete says he received from Carnival, the line announced that embarkation for the March 16 sailing was delayed by several hours so the vessel could be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.
Member tantan 9 said Carnival Breeze also skipped Grand Turk on its most recent sailing. "Just got off the breeze today! We were told the night before we were supposed to be in Grand Turk that we will be skipping that port."
Older Sister, who is currently on Princess Cruises' Ruby Princess, posted this in the sailing's Roll Call forum Friday: "This cruise had to bypass Turks & Caicos and ended up at Nassau instead."
We've reached out to Carnival -- which has a total of six ships that could be affected -- but haven't yet received confirmation or comment on itinerary changes for subsequent sailings. We're also awaiting word from Princess Cruises about Ruby Princess' March 17 sailing.
We'll keep you posted as more information becomes available.
--by Ashley Kosciolek, Associate Editor