Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Implements Enhanced Sanitation

Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas cruise ship implements enhanced sanitation due to a small number of guests with gastrointestinal illness.

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Cruise guests onboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas were notified this week about an outbreak of Norovirus that caused a small percentage of passengers to become ill. Norovirus is relatively common on cruise ships and is monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Brilliance of the Seas Norovirus

A letter sent to all guests by management of the 2,543-passenger Brilliance of the Seas advised that a gastrointestinal illness thought to be Norovirus had been discovered and was limited to a small number of cruisers.

The ship departed Tampa, Florida, on January 16 and is sailing a five-day Western Caribbean cruise. The ship’s crew was taking appropriate steps to mitigate the problem, the letter said.

Brilliance of the Seas Open Deck
Brilliance of the Seas Open Deck

The letter stated: “In an abundance of caution we’ve implemented enhanced sanitizing procedures onboard, as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health agencies worldwide. You will likely see some of these activities throughout our sailing as we are taking all steps necessary to maintain our high health standards.”

The letter also told guests that ship officials had no reason to believe the illnesses would have any impact on the remainder of the cruise. It advised guests about best practices to avoid becoming ill, and suggested washing hands often, and using the free hand-sanitizing gels available throughout the ship, particularly after a restroom break and before eating.

The letter noted that the ship’s medical staff is available to anyone experiencing symptoms. “At any time during your cruise, we request you contact the ship’s medical facility for a complimentary consultation and treatment,” it said.

CDC Tracks Shipboard Outbreaks

Norovirus typically causes stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. It can be transmitted by an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces, the CDC says. The CDC tracks instances of Norovirus on all cruise ships and publishes its findings.

CDC Sign
Photo Credit: bear_productions / Shutterstock

It is important to know that Norovirus is very common on land, and is not just on cruise ships. So far, in 2023, the CDC has confirmed one cruise with confirmed Norovirus. Suspected cases have been on the P&O Arcadio on its January 3 to April 14 2023 sailing.

The last CDC-reported case of the stomach bug on Brilliance of the Seas was in 2004, when 3.5% of guests and 1.9% of crew members became ill.

The Brilliance of the Seas launched in 2002 and is the second ship in the cruise line’s Radiance class. Her Western Caribbean series of winter cruises from Tampa call at George Town, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, Mexico. The ship’s next departure from Tampa is set for January 26, on a 4-night sailing to the Bahamas and Key West. In February, the ship resumes its Western Caribbean itinerary.

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