Princess Cruises ship docks in San Pedro after outbreak of norovirus

The Crown Princess cruise ship is docked in San Pedro on Sunday after crews were forced to cut short a voyage to Hawaii and Tahiti because of an outbreak on board of norovirus that sickened nearly 170 people.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

A Princess Cruises ship docked in San Pedro early Sunday after nearly 170 people on board fell ill in the ship’s second outbreak of norovirus this year, officials said.

Passengers began to show signs of the gastrointestinal sickness a few days into the month-long voyage to Hawaii and Tahiti. All the ill passengers and crew were treated on the ship. None required hospitalization when the ship, the Crown Princess, reached port, according to cruise officials.

Norovirus is highly contagious and can be picked up from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces.


In total, 158 passengers and 11 crew members were reported having the illness, which causes vomiting and diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Princess Cruises ship’s crew responded to the outbreak by cleaning and disinfecting the ship, encouraging passengers to report cases and collecting specimens for testing.

An official with the CDC was expected to board the ship to investigate the outbreak and the cruise line’s response. Specimens would be collected and sent to a CDC lab for more testing, officials said.

In total, 3,007 guests and 1,160 crew members were on board the ship.

Officials said safety measures would be taken so that infected guests disembarking the ship would not transmit the illness to other guests.

After the ship is disinfected, the Crown Princess is scheduled to depart for a cruise along the Mexican Riviera, Princess Cruise officials said.

In April, the Crown Princess, on a seven-day cruise, departing from San Pedro along the California coast, reported an outbreak of norovirus. The ship carried 3,161 passengers and 1,176 crew members.


In January, gastrointestinal illnesses struck more than 700 passengers on two separate ships, Princess Cruises’ Houston-based Caribbean Princess and Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas.

The industry’s image has taken a beating, partly as a result of the outbreaks.

A measure of the quality of the cruise industry fell 11% in February from a year earlier, according to a survey by the Harris Poll earlier this year. The score for trust in the cruise industry dropped 12% and scores indicating plans to book a cruise trip fell 13%, according to the poll.

Americans have a more favorable attitude about commercial air travel than cruising, according to an online survey.