February 4, 2003
Princess Cruises will abruptly terminate today a cruise on Sun Princess. The cruise was a 15-day roundtrip sailing from Los Angeles on January 25 to Hawaii and then returning to L.A. The ship, which as we reported yesterday had experienced a Norwalk-like outbreak (now called Norovirus), had received, on a port-of-call in Honolulu, a stricter-than-usual sanitation process that they hoped would thwart further outbreaks. Passengers will miss five days of their cruise. They'll be disembarked today in Honolulu and flown home. According to a company statement, special precautions for the transportation and care of those 30 or so passengers currently affected have been developed in conjunction with public health officials. Princess says the ship, which will sail back to L.A. without passengers, will receive an extra-special cleaning. Health officials say the outbreak is consistent with the Norwalk virus though it will be days before the CDC can make that determination official. In sum, by day eight of the 15 day cruise, 265 passengers (13% of the total 2,029 passengers) and 29 crew (3.3% of the total 877) have reported to the ship's medical center with Norwalk-like symptoms. Princess says that Sun Princess' next cruise will depart Los Angeles on schedule on February 9.