Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Royal Caribbean cruise ship hit by a gastrointestinal illness outbreak is cutting short its 10-day trip to bring home passengers early and sanitize the vessel again.
The Explorer of the Seas will return Wednesday to its New Jersey home port in Cape Liberty, where it left on Jan. 21 to take 3,050 passengers to the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to Royal Caribbean. The trip has stops in Haiti, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Maarten.
The company made the decision after consulting its medical team and representatives of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which found 577 passengers and 49 of 1,165 crews reporting vomiting and diarrhea. Entertainers also got sick cancelling shows.
“We think the right thing to do is to bring our guests home early and use the extra time to sanitize the ship even more thoroughly,” firm officials said in a statement, according to NBC News.
The cause of the outbreak is still being determined, but norovirus is suspected as the culprit. The virus is transmitted by touch and contaminated food or water. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea.