The ghostly specter of the Poop Cruise is out haunting again and this time it picked a Royal Caribbean cruise ship to mess with: The Explorer of the Seas will cut its 10-day trip short by two days after more than 600 people on board succumbed to an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness.
Yes, that means vomiting and diarrhea, according to a spokeswoman with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports CNN.
“New reports of illness have decreased day-over-day, and many guests are again up and about,” the cruise line said in a statement. “Nevertheless, the disruptions caused by the early wave of illness means that we were unable to deliver the vacation our guests were expecting.”
Because it’s no fun for even the non-sick people to be around so many occupied toilets, Royal Caribbean decided that it was time to bring everyone home early and clean up the ship.
“After consultation between our medical team and representatives of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we think the right thing to do is to bring our guests home early, and use the extra time to sanitize the ship even more thoroughly,” the company said.
The Explorer of the Seas left on January 21 from New Jersey and will now set out from the Caribbean to return to port on Wednesday. And then it’s the company’s fun task to perform a “thorough ‘barrier’ sanitization program on the entire ship to make certain that any remaining traces of the illness are eliminated.”
So far it’s not totally clear what caused the illness, though it seems a lot like norovirus, Royal Caribbean says. Thus far a total of 577 of the 3,050 passengers have reported feeling sick, along with 49 of the 1,165 crew members.
It sounds pretty dire on the ship, as one passenger explained the setting.
“I started with upset stomach and vomiting, and that lasted all night and into the morning,” he told CNN by phone Sunday. Shows have been canceled as well, as some of the entertainers have also fallen into the illness’ embraces.
“If I can get off (the ship), I will,” he said.
At least it sounds like all the toilets on the ship are working, so there’s that small comfort.