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Saga Cruise Ship Denied Port Entry After Norovirus Outbreak

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Saga Cruises becomes another cruise line to be hit with a norovirus outbreak. When passengers aboard the Spirit of Discovery cruise ship fell ill with the virus, the ship was denied docking at its original destination of Gibraltar and will instead be docking in Southampton on Wednesday.

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“We have a number of individuals suffering from a gastrointestinal illness on-board Spirit of Discovery, following her recent cruise to Italy,” Saga had said in a statement. “Due to the possibility that this could be caused by the Winter Vomiting Bug, the second most frequently reported illness after the common cold, the Port of Gibraltar took the decision not to allow passengers to leave the ship. As a result, she continued with her journey back to Southampton which was our next port of call concluding this cruise.

“Our high hygiene standards and well-practiced procedures mean that the illness has remained contained,” the statement continued. “The health of our customers is of paramount importance to us and we shall continue to take all appropriate steps to ensure their well-being.”

Of the ship’s 870 passengers, 89 were discovered to have norovirus. Norovirus is a gastrointestinal illness and its symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and fever. Symptoms typically last up to three days. It is not believed that the norovirus outbreak is related to the current coronavirus outbreak.

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Cruise Ship Denied by Two Caribbean Ports Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

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An MSC Cruises ship was turned away from at least two ports in the Caribbean on Tuesday after a crew member fell ill amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

According to The New York Times, MSC Meraviglia was denied from docking in both Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Georgetown, Cayman Islands after port authorities learned that a crew member from the Philippines was ill. However, the Associated Press reported that the employee was believed to be sick with the common seasonal flu.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

“In an abundance of caution, in order to provide protection to the health and safety of the residents of the Cayman Islands, the government has denied permission for the cruise ship to call on Grand Cayman as previously scheduled,” Dwayne Seymour, health minister of the Cayman Islands, said in a statement.

The cruise line expressed frustration over the repeated denial, claiming that the ill crew member and all passengers on the ship had passed a health screening prior to embarking.

“The crew member had traveled to Miami from Manila, via direct connection in Istanbul,” MSC Cruises said in a statement to the Times. “He developed symptoms of common flu and tested positive to Type A influenza after he visited the ship’s 24/7 Medical Center while already on board. He has no other symptoms.”

The ship, which is carrying more than 4,500 passengers and 1,600 crew members, is in the midst of a 15-day roundtrip sailing from Miami that had included scheduled stops in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Mexico, Bahamas, Belize and Honduras.

MSC Meraviglia isn’t the first ship to be turned away from port amid fears of the spreading coronavirus and likely won’t be the last. Tuesday’s unexpected hiccup comes just one week after MSC Cruises updated MSC Bellissima’s Grand Voyage itinerary to Asia.

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