Norwegian Reaches Out to Passengers Regarding a Past Sailing

Norwegian Cruise Line warns guests sailing onboard Norwegian Prima informed of infection regarding a past sailing.

On February 17, Norwegian Cruise Line sent a letter to guests who are booked on the February 19 cruise aboard Norwegian Prima to inform them that two guests who sailed on the ship late last year were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease after their travels. 

Although the guests’ diagnosis was likely not associated with their time aboard the ship, the cruise line is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support their investigation efforts.

Norwegian Cruise Line Informs Guests

Norwegian Cruise Line has informed guests booked onboard the Norwegian Prima that two previous guests were diagnosed with Legionnaires Disease.

These two guests sailed onboard the vessel on the November 19, 2022 voyage, which visited Isla Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Cay, Belize; Costa Maya; and Cozumel, sailing roundtrip from Miami.

Norwegian Cruise Line states that the letter has been sent out due to an abundance of caution: “As you know, health and safety is our top priority. We operate to the highest public health and sanitation standards. We are reaching out to you today to inform you that it has come to our attention that two guests who sailed aboard Norwegian Prima on her 19, 2022 voyage were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease following their travels.”

The letter continues by stating that the cruise line is working with the CDC to support their investigation efforts as part of their standard operating procedures, and testing is underway:

“Testing of devices and fixtures that use water, including hot tubs, showers, and faucets, is underway. It is not currently known whether the two passengers with Legionnaires’ disease were exposed from the ship’s water system or some other source. The investigation is ongoing.”

Norwegian Prima Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

The letter provides further information about the disease and how to recognize its symptoms. Norwegian Cruise Line has also provided details on how to handle the situation if guests experience symptoms of the disease during their cruise.

Additionally, they have also outlined the steps guests should take if they exhibit symptoms within two weeks after their voyage onboard Norwegian Prima ends.

How do Cruise Ships Prevent and Deal With It?

Cruise ships must follow strict guidelines to prevent the growth and spread of Legionella bacteria on board. The CDC requires all vessels that sail to US ports to have a comprehensive water management program. This program must adhere to strict United States Public Health (USPH) guidelines, and all cruise ships must comply with these regulations.

One key element of this water management program is regular testing of ship water systems for Legionella. This testing is a critical aspect of the ship’s water management program and is required to prevent the growth and spread.

CDC Sign
Photo Credit: bear_productions / Shutterstock

Additionally, all water lines on cruise ships are sanitized regularly. This sanitization process is part of the ship’s routine maintenance and is critical to maintaining a clean and healthy environment for passengers and crew members.

Of course, while prevention is key, that doesn’t mean that it will never occur onboard a cruise ship. In 2021, two guests were possibly infected onboard the Carnival Horizon.

It is implausible that Legionnaires’ disease was present onboard the 143,535 gross ton Norwegian Prima for several reasons. First, the ship is brand new; she entered service in August 2022, giving it little time to cultivate Legionella bacteria. This is important because Legionella bacteria can grow in water systems that are not properly maintained. 

Also Read: 10 Reasons Why Cruise Ships Are Not Floating Petri Dishes

Secondly, the ship is heavily used, which doesn’t provide the ideal conditions for bacteria to grow. The bacteria require a specific environment to grow and spread, and a heavily used ship is not conducive to its growth. In fact, the constant use and flow of water on the ship’s plumbing systems can help prevent the growth.

Will This Impact the Upcoming Cruises?

Although the ongoing investigation is not expected to impact the guests’ onboard experience, Norwegian Cruise Line has provided guests booked on the February 19 cruise onboard Norwegian Prima with the necessary information.

Norwegian Prima Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: Norwegian Cruise Line

If they experience symptoms during their cruise, they should immediately notify the onboard medical staff. Complimentary Legionella testing will be provided; if they test positive, all medical care will be provided free.

If guests experience symptoms in the two weeks after their cruise ends, they are advised to seek medical attention and show their doctor the letter provided by Norwegian Cruise Line. They should also request Legionella testing if they believe they may have contracted the disease.

Norwegian Prima is currently based out of Port Canaveral, Florida. The ship is operating a series of seven-night eastern Caribbean cruises.

Ports of call include Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. From April 2, Norwegian Prima will begin a series of cruises from New York City to Bermuda.

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