A Norovirus outbreak on board Sun Princess has sparked headlines around the world. The London Sun claimed the passengers were “evacuated”, and some passengers reportedly chose to fly back to Australia once the vessel docked in Singapore.
But the Port of Singapore said there had been no “evacuation”. Local news reports claimed 229 passengers and crew were affected, but only around 16 passengers chose to fly back to Australia.
And Cruise Passenger readers Ron and Pauline Marlborough, who were on board the ship, said in a comment: “The Sun Princess norovirus story is being overdone….
” The cases that arose were mainly through the fault of passengers not taking normal precautions with hand washing and in many cases arguments broke out because some passengers refused to wash their hands before eating.
“They should have been offloaded!
“All passengers had to leave the ship in Singapore because it was the end of one leg and the start of another – NOT because of the virus. I or my wife am not connected in anyway to Princess Cruises but believe they did an excellent job.”
The Sun Princess left Fremantle on November 1, and arrived in Singapore 12 days later.
A spokesman for Carnival Australia said the vast majority of guests on board were not impacted by the outbreak.
“The vast majority of the 2000 guests on Sun Princess were unaffected but it takes relatively few cases of illness to be reported for on-board sanitation measures to be increased,” a statement provided to news outlets read.
“Creating and maintaining a healthy on-board environment is always a priority with the highest public health standards employed based on best international practice. On-board sanitation was swiftly stepped up following some guests reporting gastrointestinal symptoms confirmed as being due to Norovirus”.
Norovirus is an occasional problem on cruise ships, where maintaining good sanitation and hand-washing habits about passengers is a constant campaign.
Sun Princess suffered two gastro outbreaks two years ago when over 100 passengers fell ill.