An American cruise ship riddled with vomiting passengers has been denied entry to its Caribbean destination and is steaming back to the United States.
More than 300 on-board have come down with gastroenteritis, an uncomfortable stomach bug which causes vomiting and diarrhea.
Spooked by the outbreak which has quickly spread, Trinidad and Tobago’s health ministry turned around the Caribbean Princess liner, which is making the 1,600-mile journey back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The two-week trip carrying 3,000 holidaymakers and 1,100 crew departed American shores on February 2 before heading south to the popular tourist island.
But it was cut short when 299 passengers and 22 crew began suffering the stomach-inflaming illness and is expected to reach Florida on Thursday.
Princess Cruise Lines Ltd, headquartered in California, said: ‘This is a highly unusual development and we share the disappointment of our guests.
‘However, the health and safety of our guests and crew is our top priority, and in working with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was decided out of an abundance of caution, in this specific instance, to discontinue the cruise.’
Passengers will be compensated a 50 per cent refund on fares and a future cruise credit valued at 50 per cent of their cruise.
Gastroenteritis is an uncomfortable bug, but fortunately it is very common and usually passed after a week.
Unlike more potent infections, such as the new coronavirus, there was no need to quarantine patients for immediate testing.
Such probing is currently ongoing in Yokohama, Japan, where the Diamond Princess cruise ship where 135 have tested positive for the deadly virus, which has killed more than 1,000 worldwide.
Authorities on today were removing from the most recently diagnosed 65 crew and passengers.
The ship was carrying 3,711 people when it arrived off Japan on the evening of February 3, and was placed under lock-down two days later.
Only those diagnosed with the virus or suffering other serious health conditions have been allowed off the boat, which is expected to remain in quarantine until at least February 19.
People on board the ship on Tuesday tweeted that medicines were being delivered to passengers, and that the ship’s captain had announced the vessel would head out to sea overnight to produce fresh water and other operations.