CNN has reported that a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Independence of the Seas, returned to Florida on Saturday after hundreds of passengers were experiencing gastrointestinal issues.
332 cases of the illness were reported during the 5-night cruise according to Owen Torres, a spokesman for Royal Caribbean. In his statement to CNN, he stressed that the percentage was small; 5.99% of 5,000+ passengers and crew onboard.
“Those affected by the short-lived illness were treated by our ship’s doctors with over-the-counter medication and we hope all our guests feel better quickly.”
The cause of the illness is unknown at this time, but Torres told CNN the company is “taking steps like intensive sanitary procedures to minimize the risk of any further issues,” and that the ship will “undergo special additional cleaning procedures before it departs on its next cruise.”
“We encouraged our guests and crew to wash their hands often, which health experts recommend as the best defense against stomach viruses, which each year affect as many as 300 million people worldwide,” Torres said, adding, “only the common cold is more prevalent.”