Australian cruisers have escaped the current norovirus outbreak currently affecting passengers in the US. While there have been a reported 13 norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships in US ports since the start of the year. So far the southern hemisphere has escaped unscathed.

The most recent norovirus outbreak in the US was on Queen Victoria. She was on her way to Honolulu from San Francisco on a 107-night world cruise when more than 150 people on board reported symptoms.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said of the 1824 passengers onboard, 129 (7.07%) reported being ill during the voyage. Of the 967 crew 25 (2.59%) also reported being unwell.

Norovirus is mainly spread directly from person to person or by touching contaminated surfaces. 

Transmission typically occurs in crowded spaces, making cruise ships an easy places for a norovirus outbreak to occur.

Symptoms of the gastrointestinal illness, including diarrhoea and vomiting, were reported when it arrived in San Francisco. It had earlier stops in Mexico, Guatemala, Panama and Aruba. The cause of this current outbreak is unknown.

Queen Victoria now heading to Sydney

Queen Victoria, operated by Cunard Line, departed Southampton, England, on January 11. After its arrival in Hawaii on Monday (local time), the ship is scheduled to stop in Fiji and New Zealand. It then arrives in Sydney on March 4.

After a port call, it heads to Hong Kong, via Airlie Beach and Cairns, then cruises Indonesia and the Philippines.  

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Queen Victoria is on her way to Australia.

Cunard responds with health and safety protocols

Cunard Line said it would increase cleaning and disinfection procedures according to its outbreak prevention and response plan. That includes isolating ill passengers and crew and informing current and embarking passengers and crew of the situation on board.

“Cunard confirms that a number of guests had reported symptoms of gastrointestinal illness on board Queen Victoria on voyage V405 which departed Florida on [Jan. 22] and arrived in San Francisco on [Feb. 7]. 

“They immediately activated their enhanced health and safety protocols to ensure the wellbeing of all guests and crew on board and these measures have been effective,” the company stated.

Here are the top ways to avoid getting sick on a cruise ship.