An outbreak has struck Queen Victoria, a Cunard Line ship, affecting over 100 passengers and crew members during its current 111-night voyage from Hamburg to Sydney. Health officials are investigating the cause, with symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting.
CDC Investigates Health Incident
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported an outbreak on Queen Victoria, operated by Carnival Corporation-owned Cunard Line. During the ship’s current journey, which began in Fort Lauderdale on January 22, 2024, 120 of the ship’s 1,824 passengers and 15 of the ship’s 967 crew members have reported illness.
In a statement made to FOX Business, a spokesperson for Cunard said, “They immediately activated their enhanced health and safety protocols to ensure the well-being of all guests and crew onboard.”
The CDC noted, “The gastrointestinal illness cases reported are totals for the entire voyage and do not represent the number of active (symptomatic) gastrointestinal cases at any given port of call or at disembarkation.”
The Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) is closely monitoring the situation and reviewing the ship’s response and sanitation measures.
While the causative agents of the outbreak remain unidentified, norovirus is a common illness on cruise ships, as well as workplaces, schools, and other crowded areas. Characterized by gastrointestinal symptoms, norovirus is highly contagious and can spread quickly in enclosed environments like ships.
Notably, Celebrity Constellation is the first ship to report a norovirus outbreak in 2024. The outbreak struck the ship on its 9-night roundtrip cruise from Tampa, Florida, which departed on January 12, 2024.
On this cruise, 68 of 2,056 passengers and seven of the ship’s 948 crew members reported symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.
Thirteen norovirus incidents were reported in 2023 on various cruise lines, including Princess Cruises, Holland American Line, Royal Caribbean International, Viking Cruises, and P&O Cruises.
Preventative Measures for Passengers
Cruise travelers are advised to take precautionary measures to stay healthy and prevent the spread of illness. Passengers are also encouraged to practice good hygiene, such as frequent hand washing, to minimize the risk of infection.
If illness is suspected, key practices include isolation, resting, staying hydrated, opting for a bland diet, and using over-the-counter medications for symptoms like diarrhea and nausea.
The smallest of Cunard’s ships in operation, Queen Victoria weighs just over 90,000 gross tons and can accommodate up to 2,061 guests. Refurbished in 2017, the ship features 143 inside cabins and 860 outside cabins across 12 decks. Her homeports include Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, and Southampton, England.
Queen Victoria is currently on a “111-Night Full World Voyage” from Hamburg, Germany, to Sydney, Australia, with stops including Bermuda, Florida, Aruba, Mexico, California, Hawaii, Fiji, and New Zealand. It is currently at sea en route to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, arriving on February 3.
Despite the outbreak, the cruise is continuing as planned, with the health and safety of passengers and crew a top priority.