|The Cunard Queen Mary 2|
The ship owners claim it is a "minor" outbreak, suggesting there were only two confirmed cases on-board. The company has not released any data on how many cleared up cases, had been encountered on earlier legs of the current World Cruise.
A few passengers have taken to social media claiming "unrest" onboard after collectively missing sightseeing at Petra in Jordan. However they have already signed up to several pages of booking terms and conditions which covers such emergencies.
The cruise ship is currently on a 120-day world voyage from Southampton and is not due back until 10 January 2017.
The ship, in current nautical terms, a medium size ship, carries 2,403 passengers, and denied port health clearance to dock at Salalah in the Oman and in Aqaba, Jordan, The company says: "despite extensive negotiations with relevant port authorities".
The BBC quoting passengers Peter and Jackie Seely said the outbreak had left Cunard "with a rather large headache because there is a lot of unrest with passengers who have been denied their chance to get to see Petra in Jordan".
Guests who booked shore excursions "will receive automatic refunds and the ship will continue en route through the Suez Canal", the Cunard spokesman confirmed.
Noroviruses, sometimes known as "winter vomiting bugs", are stomach bugs which cause the sudden onset of nausea followed by projectile vomiting and diarrhoea.
Cruise ships (and other closed community environments, such as Hospitals and prisons) are particularly prone to the bug but ship crews are exceptionally well trained to deal with outbreaks.
These bugs can be quickly passed on and infect large numbers by the simple transference of germs on hands, being attached to handrails particularly when passengers fail to properly wash their hands after visiting toilets and each time before consuming food, snacks or drinks.
Ships crews generally use a form of 'fist bump' as a greeting rather than shaking hands, which would pass on any infection.
The usual clear up method, apart from regular industrial deep cleaning of all areas and isolation of objects handled or touched by those infected, and those with (or carriers of) the virus, is to operate a carrier isolation policy, those affected strictly confined to their cabins or staterooms, for two-three days until the virus totally clears the system, only then can they re-join the general population. Their cabins would also be deep cleaned and all linens 'red bagged' for decontamination.
Cruise lines now routinely insist on written certification from all intending guests at the point of embarkation, they are free from infection, at the risk of being offloaded at the next port, if any statements are untrue.
Source: BBC News, PA, Reuters, CNS,
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