No, that wasn’t the ‘holiday spirit.’ It may have been food poisoning, as hundreds of passengers on a Royal Caribbean cruise came down with an unknown stomach illness!
Hopefully, Santa Claus is stocking up his sleight with plenty of barf bags and Pepto-Bismol, because 332 passengers of Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas came down with some kind of gastrointestinal illness during the five-night cruise, according to CNN. “Those affected by the short-lived illness were treated by our ship’s doctors with over-the-counter medication,” Owen Torres, a spokesman for Royal Caribbean, said in a statement, “and we hope all our guests feel better quickly.”
Owen also stressed that the 332 afflicted passengers were a small percentage – 5.99% — of the 5,000 passengers and crew onboard the ship. However, for that nearly 6% on-board, this illness was an absolute nightmare! “It was just terrifying,” Tracy Flores, whose 15-year-old son contracted the illness, told WPLG. “[J]ust the amount of people that were coming in at the same time with vomiting and diarrhea and just looked ghastly.” It’s still unknown what caused the illness, and some passengers think that the number of affected passengers is higher than what Royal Caribbean reported.
“We talked to plenty of people who said that they were too sick to even make it down to the (ship’s) medical facility,” Marsha Homuska, a passenger on the ship, told CNN affiliate WSVN. “We went down to the medical facility and waited over an hour for help. They started running out of water and basic supplies.”
Victoria Nolan, a passenger who was traveling on the Independence of the Seas with 15 relatives, said that six members of her family got sick with the stomach bug. She also thinks the number of cases is underreported, because many people didn’t get treatment and stayed in their cabins to recover. She also pointed out that Royal Caribbean’s decision to have people travel through the ship only made the outbreak worse. “It’s not their fault that it happened, but the way they handled it after people started getting sick made it 10 times worse,” she said, adding that people were throwing up in the elevators on their way to the medical area. Plus, the sick supposedly had to wait more than four hours before they got help!
Passenger (@CruiseNiche) shared these photos with us of crews in protective gear sanitizing Independence of the Seas cruise ship. Many tell us people were vomiting in the elevators/halls trying to get to the doctor @WPLGLocal10 pic.twitter.com/zdXDPiiasV
— Erica Rakow (@EricaRakow) December 16, 2017
Owen Torres, the Royal Caribbean spokesperson, said that the company is taking “intensive sanitary procedures” and that the ship will undergo “special additional cleaning procedures” before it hits the seas again. “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,” Owen added. “Only the common cold is more prevalent.”
So, are you going to book a Royal Caribbean cruise, HollywoodLifers?