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Vacationers typically spend cruises working on their tans and hitting up the buffet a comical number of times. Unfortunately for many aboard the Queen Mary 2 and the Emerald Princess this week, they had to add another activity to that itinerary: giving stool samples to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The trouble began on Christmas Day for those on the Queen Mary 2 and the 22nd for those on the Emerald Princess. Almost two hundred on each ship were sickened with symptoms of stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea. Because the totals on each ship accounted for more than two percent of the total populations on board, each ship contacted the CDC. The organization diagnosed the passengers with having contracted an unknown norovirus, but until they’re able to analyze the stool samples, the specifics of what happened will likely still be unclear.
According to Reuters, sanitation procedures on both ships have been dramatically increased with common area guardrails being washed as many as three times every single hour. An overwhelming majority of the affected have reportedly recovered from their conditions, and the sick have been given refunds for any offshore excursions they booked and missed as a result of the outbreak.
I feel bad for everyone who was on board these two ships, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s actually reassuring that situations like this are so rare nowadays because of health standards. Thirty steps forward, one step back.