More than 300 passengers on a Royal Caribbean cruise had a gastrointestinal illness

Passengers aboard Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas cruise ship which left Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades Monday for Labadee and Jamaica for a five-night cruise this week had a bad experience. More than 300 passengers of the 5,000 people aboard came down with a gastrointestinal illness.

By Wednesday, cases of the gastrointestinal illness had begun to spread quickly. They all had lunch on the ship. In a statement released Friday, a Royal Caribbean spokesperson said passengers were given over-the-counter medication to combat the symptoms. The Independence of the Seas’ staff quickly jumped into action, cleaning and disinfecting the entire ship. The vessel returned to South Florida, Saturday.

Independence of the Seas

After passengers disembarked, the Independence of the Seas was thoroughly sanitized. The ship is still scheduled to leave Port Everglades next Thursday for another cruise. Passengers who departed the ship Saturday described an extremely unpleasant trip at sea. "Imagine being in a waiting room and sitting next to five or six people all throwing up at the same time," one of them said. Norovirus and stomach virus outbreaks are not uncommon on cruise ships. Earlier this year, an outbreak on a Royal Caribbean ship in Australia sickened more than 200. In August, nearly 100 others were sickened on a Princess Cruises ship, also in Australia.