(1:40 p.m. EDT) — Norwegian Gem skipped a scheduled port stop in St. Maarten because of gastro illness Friday.
The 2,394-passenger ship, currently on a March 12 sailing to the Eastern Caribbean from New York, was scheduled to spend the day on the island. Over the course of the cruise, «a number of guests reported to the medical center with various symptoms of gastroenteritis after returning to the ship after a port call,» the line said in a statement.
After consulting with public health authorities in St. Maarten, the ship will remain at sea «in an abundance of caution.» Employees on Norwegian Gem have been carrying out an extensive range of sanitizing and preventative measures on board, the line said.
The Centers for Disease Control has not posted a report on the illness yet. The U.S. health authorities must get involved once a communicable disease on a ship sickens at least 3 percent of passengers; the number of sick passengers on Norwegian Gem is currently 2 percent, the line said.
Cruise Critic members onboard the ship have been updating the vessel’s status. «I am impressed by the response of the ship,» noted Kingmaker_Inc. «Several people have been quarantined. The ship has changed procedures around commonly touched items, such as serving spoons. Only staff can touch serving spoons and such in ALL of the restaurants.»
Gastrointestinal illnesses have flulike symptoms, including vomiting, low-grade fever and diarrhea. It spreads quickly when many people are confined to a small area, such as a cruise ship — but also hotels, schools and hospitals. The best way to avoid catching the illness is to wash your hands thoroughly before and after eating and when you use the bathroom. For more information, read our Editors’ Tips: Norovirus — What You Need to Know.