Norwegian Gem
Photo Credit: Shinya Suzuki (Creative Commons)

Passengers and crew were refused to disembark the Norwegian Gem on March 18. The NCL vessel was scheduled call at St Maarten on Friday but due to a sickness bug authorities decided it was best for the ship to cancel the port of call.

The decision was made after the Port Control Team from St Maarten boarded the ship before it entered port. After assessing the situation they refused anyone to disembark the vessel if it would dock. As a result the call was cancelled and the ship sailed away from St Maarten.

BVI News posted a statement from Port St Maarten which said:

“The vessel was boarded outside Port St Maarten, and was boarded by a Port Control Team that also included officials from the Ministry of Public Health and the Shipping & Maritime Authority, to gather further information with respect to the on-board virus.”

“While onboard, the Port Control Team were informed of additional cases and, based on this information and after further evaluation, it was decided in the interests of public health that the passengers and crew should not disembark. The causative agent at the time of inspection was unknown, and the Captain was advised to return to home-port for vessel sanitation procedures,” added Port St Maarten.

“The Norwegian Gem which was outside Port St. Maarten left after the decision of the Port Control Team was made.”

So far Norwegian Cruise Line has stated that 2 percent of passengers had become sick from a gastrointestinal bug which causes vomiting and diarrhea. The ship spent a day at sea instead of the call to St Maarten where crew did extra sanitizing and cleaning to stop the sickness bug from spreading.

The gastrointestinal bug which is also known as Norovirus can also be found on land and not just on cruise ships. The virus is not deadly but can cause stomach pains. It can be treated by the onboard doctor and at times guests are asked to stay on their cabins to help stop the spread.

The 93,530 gross ton Norwegian Gem is sailing a 10-day Eastern Caribbean cruise from New York. The ship is scheduled to arrive back in the big apple on March 22.