Are cruise ship illnesses now just inevitable? Another gastro outbreak hits passengers at sea

A cruise ship docking in Sydney today has 150 passengers abroad, all sick from gastro. We wish this was an

A cruise ship docking in Sydney today has 150 passengers abroad, all sick from gastro. We wish this was an isolated story, but unfortunately this is yet another outbreak – and they’re becoming more and more inevitable.

The Diamond Princess, from the Princess Cruises fleet, docked at the overseas passenger terminal in Sydney’s Circular Quay at 7am this morning.

The South Eastern Sydney local health district said they were notified by Princess Cruises of a norovirus gastroenteritis outbreak on the liner.

Director of the district’s Public Health Unit, Professor Mark Ferson, told News Corp 158 of the 4000 passengers and a number of crew presented at the ship’s medical clinic during the cruise with gastroenteritis.

“There have been no medical disembarkations or patients requiring hospitalisation. The ship has instituted maximum control measures, including increased sanitation and further cleaning and hygiene procedures will occur prior to passengers arriving on board this afternoon”.

Despite the horrible outbreak, the ship will be out at sea again this afternoon on a 12-day trip to New Zealand, stopping at Auckland and Wellington.

Professor Ferson said incoming passengers would be advised of the outbreak when they boarded the ship and about recommended hygiene measures.

There were three incidents of gastro on board cruise ships in December, and we wonder: is getting sick just part and parcel of the cruise experience now? The chances of getting sick seem to be getting higher and higher.

Obviously you can get sick on any holiday, but this latest outbreak highlights the prevalence of gastro on almost every cruise liner, whether you pay the big bucks or go budget.

Tell us, has this put you off cruising or is it a risk you’re willing to take for a holiday at sea?


  1. Always a risk on a cruise ship. However the staff ate always amazing at controlling outbreaks and prevention. Just takes 1 person who don’t know how to was their hands. Always only a small number affected out of a large number of passengers. Rule :be hygienic.

  2. Brian Abbott  

    This is why you never take an inside room. If there’s a quarantine you are going to get very sick of sitting in a window-less room for a couple of days.

  3. 4000+ people in one tin box. I am surprised that there aren’t more outbreaks of infections of all sorts.

    • I am with you on this Robert. How can they clean and disinfect properly. There is such a short time span before they are off sailing again. Health Authories would still be scratching their heads in a meeting as the Ship sets Sail again.

      • It is an ongoing process Trish – 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year all over the vessel and if there is an outbreak of anything the sanitation level goes up, so that every surface on the ship is sanitised continuously! Go and check the kitchens one day on a cruise ship if you can.

  4. Some of those cruise members evidently had all the symptoms for 4 days and did not disclose!

    • Yes Catherine that is exactly what happens and some people are to penny pinching to go to the medical centre and they then also self medicate, which might be the wrong medication, and they then still go all over the vessel transmitting their illness!

  5. Don’t want to go on one of those big cruise ships to be locked up with all those people with nowhere to escape to until the next port. Bad enough being on a small island resort.

    • I went on the Oasis over 5000 passenger’s had the best time ever. Been on 4 cruises 5th one coming up, never been sick. Royal Caribbean is the best.

  6. Have been on a few cruises & am amazed at some passengers lack of hygiene. Seen passengers argue with staff & refuse to use the sanitizer at entrances to the eating areas. Even saw one person spit into the pool. Disgusting. So i guess is a battle to keep on top of these outbreaks.

    • How can they clean and disinfect properly. There is such a short time span before they are off sailing again. Health Authories would still be scratching their heads in a meeting as the Ship sets Sail.

    • Exactly right. On our last flight the plane wasnt that clean, because of the quick turn around. Staff do their best in the time span they have.

    • Margaret Connolly Well Margaret some staff do and some dont. I understand both sides of the Do’s and Don’ts. I managed a Motel for 18 months and good caring staff so hard to find. A boss who did not want to pay but wanted full house NO matter what. The things that some people do in the rooms and beds with the attitude I am paying so I can do whatever I want has me never wanting to stay in Motels Resorts or go on Cruises.

  7. I always take Glen20 onboard with us & spray the air conditioner vents 2 to 3 times a day plus the toilet. So far so good .

  8. Media beat up ,don’t blame the ship ,blame the people who don’t wash their hands . I have done 6 cruises on princess and thier hygiene standards are 10/10 . It’s dirty people who spread the gastro virus . I have been on diamond princess recently and it’s a wonderful cruise ship. Love Princess cruises .

    • Peter May  

      I agree Shelly, the media love to exaggerate things it was only 158 people out of over 4000, not even worth reporting…the cruise ships do as much as they can to stop viruses….

    • JAY  

      I agree with you Rosemary re Princess cruises. I Have done several cruises all over 3 weeks each plus one World Cruise. I have never had a moments illness. Staff are constantly cleaning.It is the inconsiderate passengers who are too lazy or impatient to wash their hands who are to blame.150 sick from 3000 passengers plus as many crew is not a huge outbreak. Another Media beatup

  9. Pam  

    We’ve been on many cruises and only once been sick and that was on Diamond Princess in 2013. Usually the first 2 days out to sea the staff serve everything to avoid sickness but we have noticed that this is not always done. Also there is usually hand sanitiser placed at all levels if stairwells and lifts. If people used it there might also be a reduction in illness. We have also seen many people who refuse to use hand sanitiser when entering buffet area.

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