December 23, 2002
Carnival Spirit temporarily shut-down its Camp Carnival facility this weekend when numerous kids came down with a gastrointestinal illness that resembled Norwalk-like symptoms. The childrens' playroom, closed for a day and a half, has since reopened. "Partway through the voyage we had some kids who got sick in the playroom which is not generally a good thing," says Carnival's Jennifer De La Cruz. During the closed-down period, "we cleaned and sanitized and it seems to have been effective." De La Cruz says that the strategy, part of Carnival protocol, seems to be working; "we have not seen new cases in the infirmary." Carnival Spirit, on an 8-day swing through the southern Caribbean, is in St. Maarten today and returns to Miami Thursday. De La Cruz emphasizes that the cases, largely limited to kids, have not come close to impacting the three percent of passengers that the CDC considers "outbreak status." Meanwhile, Carnival Conquest returned to New Orleans Sunday. The ship, whose previous voyage resulted in some 200 passengers coming down with a Norwalk-like illness, and which underwent an extensive sanitizing before departing for last week's voyage, reports that 62 out of 3,100 passengers -- two percent -- got ill on the latest trip. Carnival's spokeswoman says that while the "counts on the voyage ended Sunday were higher than normal," they were not "at outbreak proportions. It was the same pattern we saw on Fascination." Conquest underwent a similar extra-intense cleaning during the turnaround period yesterday. Passengers on this week¹s voyage also experienced delayed embarkation, and Carnival says it provided shuttle service to the French Quarter and river excursions. Passengers were also given the right to cancel, penalty-free.