Outbreak Affects Holland America Ship During 35-Day Cruise

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A gastro outbreak has been reported impacting both guests and crew aboard the Holland America Line cruise ship Koningsdam. The cruise ship, which is currently on a 35-day Pacific Ocean cruise, has seen a notable number of gastro cases among its passengers and crew.

The Koningsdam set sail from San Diego, California, on February 17 and will not be making its return to the Californian port until two weeks from now. Despite the outbreak, various measures are in place on cruise ships to manage such situations effectively. Reports from guests onboard the 35-day cruise suggest that these events have minimally impacted their journey.

CDC Reports Outbreak Onboard Koningsdam

The CDC has published a report stating that an outbreak occurred onboard the Holland America Line cruise ship ms Koningsdam. The pinnacle-class cruise ship is currently sailing a 35-day cruise to Hawaii, Tahiti, and the Marquesas, departing San Diego on February 17, 2024, and scheduled to return to southern California on March 24, 2024.

According to the CDC report, 98 out of 2,522 guests onboard (3.89%) and 12 out of 961 crew members (1.25%) onboard have experienced illness stemming from Norovirus infection. 

As is the case with all reported outbreaks, Holland America Line has implemented increased cleaning and disinfection procedures. Measures include the isolation of ill passengers and crew to prevent further spread of the virus.

Holland America Line told USA Today: “At Holland America Line, the safety and well-being of our guests and crew is our top priority. During the current voyage, several guests on Koningsdam reported symptoms of gastrointestinal illness,” 

“The cases were mostly mild and quickly resolving. We initiated enhanced sanitation protocols to minimize further transmission and the incidence of cases has since declined significantly.”

Holland America Line's Koningsdam Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock

The 99,500 gross tons ms Koningsdam has already visited Hilo, Kahului, Nawiliwili, and Honolulu, Hawaii; as well as Raiatea, Tahiti; Moorea, and Fakarava, French Polynesia; In the coming days, she will sail to Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia, before sailing back to San Diego during a 9-day crossing. 

Earlier in the voyage, the ship did not make its scheduled call to the Fanning Islands due to an unrelated medical emergency.

Cruise Lines’ Battle Against Gastro Onboard

While the threat of Norovirus onboard cruise ships is often a case for panic and concern amongst those not onboard the vessel, it’s important to note that the gastrointestinal illness cases reported represent the total for the entire voyage and do not indicate the number of active cases. 

Given the duration of the cruise, 35 nights, the likelihood of reaching the threshold for reporting is higher. It comes just a few weeks after an outbreak affected Cunard Line cruise ship Queen Victoria, affecting over 100 passengers and crew members during her 111-night cruise from Hamburg to Sydney, which set sail on January 22, 2024.

Koningsdam Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock.com

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires that cruise ships participating in the Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) report when 3% or more of passengers or crew onboard have experienced symptoms of gastrointestinal illness during a voyage.

Read Also: What Happens If You Miss Your Cruise Ship?

According to reports from guests, the impact onboard has been minimal, with buffets remaining open for all guests onboard, and parties on deck continuing as normal. 

Before she begins her normal 7-day Alaska cruises on April 27, ms Koningsdam will sail on a second longer voyage starting April 5. The 22-night solar eclipse cruise and circumnavigation of Hawaii will sail to Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan, Mexico; Kailua Kona, Nawiliwili, Honolulu, and Hilo, Hawaii; Victoria, British Columbia; and Vancouver, Canada. 

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