Cruise ship barred from docking in Mauritius

Cruise ship barred from docking in Mauritius amid stomach illness outbreak

More than a dozen passengers onboard the Norwegian Dawn contracted a stomach virus while on the ship. Officials in the island nation of Mauritius blocked the Norwegian Cruise Line ship from docking there Sunday due to an “undisclosed health risk,” according to the Mauritius Ports Authority.  The sick passengers are in isolation undergoing further testing.  The cause of the outbreak has not yet been released. 

“Due to additional testing being required by local authorities before being allowed entry, the government of Mauritius has delayed disembarkation for the current cruise and embarkation for the next cruise by two days,” the Norwegian statement said.

The Norwegian Dawn has more than 2,100 passengers and 1,000 crew on board. About 2,000 of those travelers were set to complete their journey on Sunday by disembarking in Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean just east of Madagascar, the Ports Authority said. Then more than 2,200 new passengers were scheduled to board.

Passengers who were not able to board on Sunday due to the outbreak will be relocated to available hotels in the area. 

Gastrointestinal illnesses can spread quickly on cruise ships due to the close living quarters and the regular addition of new passengers.  

Last month, a norovirus outbreak onboard the Celebrity Constellation caused nearly 100 passengers and eight crew members to become sick. 

What Is Norovirus?

Norovirus is more commonly known as the stomach flu. This illness involves nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fever, and abdominal cramps. It is definitely not the type of illness someone wants to contract while confined to a boat out at sea. Norovirus is extremely contagious and can spread from physical contact with someone who has the illness or by touching something that someone who had the illness touched. It can also spread by contaminated food or water. 

Whenever an illness, such as norovirus, strikes on a ship, cruise staff are required to implement sanitation procedures. If the illness is reported while the vessel is at sea, depending on the sickness involved, the ill passengers are often quarantined to prevent it from spreading while being treated by the ship’s medical staff .

We recommend that before you book your cruise, that you visit the CDC’s website where you can research different cruise ships to see how they performed in their last inspection. Ships are graded on a 100 point scale. Points are deducted whenever a safety violation is found. Certain violations are easily fixed immediately, often during the actual inspection. Other more complicated issues may take longer to correct. These random inspections verify that ships are maintaining a healthy and safe environment on board. If you are about to take a cruise, we urge you to review your ship’s annual inspection report.

Related Resources:

Cruise Ship Barred from Docking in Mauritius Amid Outbreak of Stomach Illness – NBC News (February 26, 2024)