TAMPA, Florida— Imagine being stuck on a cruise ship for over two weeks with over a hundred passengers and crew suspected of contracting norovirus.
Holland America’s Oosterdam arrived in Tampa this morning on the final stop of its transatlantic voyage from Rome.
The ship carried just over 1,800 passengers and close to 800 crew when one-by-one those on board started falling ill.
The Centers for Disease Control suspect it was an outbreak of norovirus, a highly contagious illness causing inflammation of the stomach and intestines.
Those infected can feel extremely ill with continuous stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
In all, 86 passengers and 18 crew members got sick and were quarantined in their own cabins as crew implemented enhanced sanitation procedures to keep the illness from spreading further.
On Friday afternoon, the ship underwent another thorough cleaning before setting sail Friday on a two-week cruise across the Caribbean.
Medical experts say anyone sick who got off the ship in Tampa can still pass the virus on even several days after they recover.
Those who did get ill are urged to frequently wash their hands and thoroughly wash even their clothing on the longest cycle possible.
Norovirus has struck Holland America cruise ships three times in one month in December 2015. Another norovirus outbreak was suspected on the first Carnival cruise to Cuba in May.
If you are considering a cruise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does track inspections and illness outbreaks. You can search cruise ships here.