January 7, 2003
Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norway is the latest ship to succumb to the mighty -- though obviously diminishing -- Norwalk-style virus. NCL reported that 105 passengers on the 2,200 capacity vessel showed up at the medical center at some point during Norway’s New Year’s Eve cruise, a seven day Eastern Caribbean voyage out of Miami. The ship returned on schedule to Miami last Sunday and set-off on time for its next voyage. On its part, Norwegian picked up costs of visiting the onboard medical center -- though passengers did pay for medication. It also offered those who had contracted symptoms late in the cruise a free hotel stay if they weren’t ready to travel home. Those embarking on Sunday’s voyage were offered a chance to cancel with no penalty; spokeswoman Susan Robison says there were no takers. As has been the case with other incidents, there were likely more ill, according to a passenger we spoke with, than the officially reported sick-count. But some travelers have been hesitant about reporting to the medical center as they would likely be asked, on a voluntary basis, to remain cabin-bound while ill. The ship is, as a matter of industry policy, is now reporting daily illness numbers to the Centers for Disease Control and Robison says that, as of Tuesday morning, just 3 out of 2,200 passengers have reported Norwalk-like symptoms.