More than 300 sickened on Ruby Princess cruise ship, CDC says


Hundreds of passengers and crew members fell ill while on board a Princess Cruises ship, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. 

In total, 284 of 2,881 passengers on the Ruby Princess reported being sick during the voyage between Feb. 26 and March 5, CDC investigators said, and 34 of the 1,159 crew members also reported illness. The symptoms reported were vomiting and diarrhea.

The CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program epidemiologists and environmental health officers responded to the ship when it docked in Galveston, Texas on March 5, the agency said. They have not yet determined what caused the illnesses. 

Crew on the ship cleaned more frequently and used disinfection procedures once the outbreak began, the CDC said. They also collected stool samples for CDC analysis. 

Workers also directed sick passengers to isolate themselves in their rooms, a Princess Cruises spokesperson said. The company said the sickness was likely caused by norovirus, a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Norovirus, which is sometimes called the “cruise ship virus,” causes more than 90% of diarrheal disease outbreaks on cruise ships, according to the CDC.

The Ruby Princess has since embarked on a new voyage, the company said. The latest group of passengers, currently on a seven-day Caribbean cruise, were told about the increased illnesses on the previous trip.

The Ruby Princess has made headlines in the past as the site of several COVID-19 outbreaks, including a 2020 cruise early in the coronavirus pandemic that docked in Australia with hundreds of positive cases on board.

In recent years, the CDC monitored COVID-19 outbreaks on cruise ships. The program tracking cases ended in July of 2022. 


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