No More Noro for Celebrity Mercury?

March 26, 2010
After three consecutive cruises with 10 to 20 percent of passengers falling ill, Celebrity Mercury may have finally kicked its Noro habit. Only six out of 1,066 passengers onboard have reported symptoms of gastrointestinal illness on this week's sailing, according to a spokeswoman for the line.

The ship ended its previous cruise one day early and departed on its current sailing two days late in order to give the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) nearly four full days to oversee a thorough cleansing of the ship. Passengers were even given the option to cancel and rebook their cruise if they were worried about getting sick.

Though tummy troubles are never minor for those experiencing them, it's important to note that six is a small number in the grand scheme of things. For perspective, cruise lines are required to alert the CDC when 2 percent or more of passengers or crew have reported symptoms; Mercury's current cases account for only half a percent and do not have to be reported, as this number is too low to indicate a shipwide outbreak. Furthermore, we generally don't report outbreaks in Cruise Critic News until they reach the 10 percent mark, otherwise we'd be writing about Norovirus all the time -- after all, it is the second most common illness next to the common cold.

To find out more about what Celebrity Mercury crewmembers are doing to prevent future outbreaks, as well as the enhanced cleaning procedures the ship underwent, read our Q&A with Celebrity president Dan Hanrahan. For more information about Norovirus, the typical culprit behind gastrointestinal illnesses not just on cruise ships but anywhere people share close quarters (dorms, hospitals, schools), see our article on Norovirus - What You Need to Know.

--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor