Hundreds of passengers and crew on Ruby Princess ship fell ill due to a yet-to-be-determined cause, the CDC said.
Illness reportedly affected a total of 284 of the 2881 passengers onboard the cruise, which took place between February 26th-March 5th.
When Ruby Princess returned to homeport Galveston TX, CDC epidemiologists/environmental health officers from the agency's Vessel Sanitation Program boarded the ship to collect stool samples from the sickened passengers and crew.
The CDC has not yet definitively determined what caused the illness outbreak. Princess Cruises believes that the likeliest cause was a Norovirus. According to the CDC, noroviruses are the cause of 90% of diarrheal disease outbreaks on cruise ships and are often referred to as the “cruise ship virus.”
Ruby Princess's Norovirus outbreak comes after several major COVID outbreaks on cruise ships during the first days of the pandemic, including an outbreak on Ruby Princess that forced the boat to dock in Australia back in March 2020. A number of the tourists sickened on that voyage died.
Ruby Princess has already embarked on the next 7-day Caribbean voyage leaving roundtrip from Galveston Texas. Passengers were informed of the illness outbreak on the previous voyage.
For more Ruby Princess incidents and accidents see the ship's CruiseMinus page.