Noroviruses on Cruise Ships

As attorneys working clients who were injured or became sick while on a cruise ship, we’re familiar with common claims brought against the cruise lines.

Relatively often, passengers get sick while cruising. One common reason is that they’ve contracted a norovirus – a stomach bug or stomach flu – that’s beyond the general realm of what’s considered an upset stomach.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention who monitors illness outbreaks on cruise ships:

Norovirus is a very contagious virus. You can get norovirus from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed (acute gastroenteritis). This leads you to have stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea and to throw up.

From the CDC website…

Why are noroviruses associated with cruise ships?

  • Health officials track illness on cruise ships. So outbreaks are found and reported more quickly on a cruise ship than on land.
  • Close living quarters may increase the amount of group contact.
  • New passenger arrivals may bring the virus to other passengers and crew.

When hundreds or thousands of passengers are in close quarters with one another, the opportunity for stomach illnesses to affect dozens of people or more is present. And while the cruise ships will take action to reduce the potential spread of viruses, it’s also up to individuals to take health precautions as well.