BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Sick at sea. A cruise liner from England docks in Baltimore with more than 100 sick passengers on board. CDC doctors spent the day trying to clean up the norovirus that caused the outbreak.
Gigi Barnett has more from passengers.
A top-to-bottom scrub down is underway for a Fred. Olsen cruise liner. The Balmoral set sail from England two weeks ago.
Two days into the trip, the Centers for Disease Control says a highly contagious norovirus swept through the passengers and crew, sickening more than 150 people on board.
The ship docked in Baltimore’s port on Saturday — still on course to continue its 34-night trip.
“It’s always a concern for the Port of Baltimore, the cruise line, but the general public should not be concerned,” said Port of Baltimore Spokesman Richard Scher.
The port got word that the ship was coming to Baltimore from Norfolk, Virginia, where it was quarantined.
Passengers complained of classic norovirus symptoms, including vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain. It was so bad, the captain had to cancel a stop in Bermuda.
The CDC rushed in to test patients, confirming that the norovirus was indeed on board.
“Oh, everywhere you go,” said Katie Nelson. “There are hand sanitizer containers everywhere.”
Passengers, like Katie Nelson from Wales, say they’ve traveled on Fred. Olsen cruises before and never fell ill. She says the crew continues to stress cleanliness.
“You’re told to wash your hands; you’re told to use the sanitizers and I do,” said Nelson. “It is not the ship that is sick and giving us the norovirus. It is the passengers who are not doing what they’re told.”
When the Balmoral reached Baltimore, the crews ushered well passengers into tour buses headed to a day of sightseeing in Washington, D.C.
While they’re gone, the cleanup continues and the sick passengers stay confined to their rooms.
“We understand that the number of passengers on the ship has dramatically decreased in terms of the number of sick passengers,” Scher said.
A letter released by the cruise company says the number of sick passengers is now down to seven. Doctors say it takes between 24 to 48 hours for the norovirus to cycle out of the body.
The Balmoral leaves Baltimore on Sunday night.
More than 1,400 guests are on board the Balmoral; most of them are from the U.K. — two passengers are American.