Virus Plagues Sun Princess

Ramainder of Hawaii cruise canceled as ship gets scrubbed 'stem to stern'

By: Michele Kayal

Princess Cruises has canceled the remainder of a 15-day Hawaii sailing after an outbreak of the gastrointestinal illness that has plagued the industry for months hit more than 250 passengers on the Sun Princess.

The ship was in Honolulu last week after 265 passengers or 13 percent of the 2,029 on board and 29 crew reported symptoms of a Norwalk-like virus during the course of the cruise that left Los Angeles Jan. 25.

The ship had made all of its scheduled port calls, said company spokeswoman Tori Benson, but with five days of transit back to Los Angeles left in the voyage, Princess decided canceling would be the best way to prevent further illness.

“When people are enclosed in that environment with that many sea days without medical services beyond what’s available on the ship, we thought this would be prudent,” Benson said.

In addition to cleaning efforts already underway, six members of a mobile sanitizing team specially trained in using disinfectant agents will help scrub the vessel from stem to stern during the return voyage, she said.

All passengers well enough to travel were flown home or to Los Angeles, Benson said. The company said in a statement it was taking special precautions developed with federal and state health officials for the transportation and care of the 30 passengers still recovering from the virus.

Passengers will receive a complete refund for the five canceled days of their cruise, and a $500 credit per cabin toward a future sailing.

The next cruise was expected to depart Los Angeles on schedule Feb. 9. The next Hawaii cruise begins March 11.