The P&O Cruises ship Oriana has been hit hard by the norovirus, as reports are coming out of the Baltic that passengers and crew have been facing a nightmare with over 400 affected by the winter bug, and with reports of some passengers close to rioting over the crew’s casual response.
A “code red” was called only 2 days into the cruise because of the virus outbreak, and most activities and events were cancelled. Any passengers or crew who had the virus were asked to stay in their cabins.
The norovirus has left many cruisers sick with vomiting and diarrhea and some have reported even seeing people collapse with the illness.
Many are criticizing the cruise line’s initial reports that only 6 or so passengers had the norovirus, but with buffet lines closed down, main dining rooms running 80% full, and the public bathrooms and corridors smelling like the sick, there is no hiding that the norovirus has struck the Oriana.
Oriana is currently on a 10-night Baltic cruise which departed from Southampton on December 4 with 1,843 passengers on board, and is due back in to port tomorrow.
With so many different news outlets reporting on this situation is has been difficult to determine fact from fiction. A UK news website was the first to report on the norovirus, but several other UK sites picked up the story quickly.
Some of the passengers have used social media to detail what they have been experiencing aboard the Oriana. But reports of a passenger mutiny and passengers being MediVaced from ports of call have been flatly denied by P&O spokespersons.
P&O did release a statement which said:
“There has been an incidence of a mild gastrointestinal illness among the passengers on Oriana. This illness is suspected to be Norovirus, which is highly contagious and typically transmitted from person to person. Norovirus is common throughout the UK, Europe and North America and has affected a number of schools, hospitals, nursing homes and children’s day care centres.
Oriana is currently on a 10-night Baltic cruise which departed from Southampton on December 4. There are 1,843 passengers on board, the number of passengers with active symptoms today is six (6) (0.3%).
Enhanced sanitation protocols have already been implemented to help minimize transmission to other passengers. These comprehensive disinfection protocols have been developed by P&O Cruises in conjunction with U.K. and U.S. public health authorities.
The safety and comfort of passengers and crew is always our number one priority. As is currently standard procedure across our fleet, all the ship’s passengers were provided with a precautionary health notice advising of widespread Norovirus activity and the health measures to avoid contraction and spread, both on board and whilst ashore.”
Norovirus reports are up 72% this year compared to last year according to the UK website Health Protection Agency as the winter bug has struck almost 750,000 people this year.
This is a winter virus which is more common in colder weather much like the common cold. Cruise ships have safety protocols once it is determined the virus is on board. The cruise ship must inform an upcoming port of the virus within 24 hours of arriving, and ships are obliged to declare an infection of an infectious disease if more than 2 per cent of people on board are affected.
While docked in Copenhagen extra cleaners were hired to clean the cabins of the affected and other areas of the ship.
Although the norovirus is unpleasant it usually only takes 2 days for a full recovery.
If you are aboard the Oriana or were on the ship during this outbreak feel free to contact us with any extra information on this breaking story.