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Dozens of passengers on Royal Caribbean cruise fall ill, company says

1:04 PM, Jan 18, 2014   |    comments
Vision of the Seas/Image courtesy Royal Caribbean
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(CNN) -- It's not a fun way to end a dream vacation.

Dozens of passengers on a four-night cruise aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship became sick with a stomach illness, according to a company statement.

The Majesty of the Seas docked in Miami Friday after a Caribbean journey that included port calls at Nassau and CocoCay, Bahamas, and Key West, Florida.

Sixty-six of the more than 2,500 passengers aboard experienced gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting and diarrhea, Royal Caribbean International said.

Two of the more than 800 crew members also fell ill, the company said.

The cruise line suspects the cause to be norovirus, according to the company's statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta describes norovirus as a very contagious bug that can be spread by infected persons, in contaminated food or water, or through contact with contaminated surfaces. The CDC says norovirus affects nearly 20 million people in the U.S. each year, and results in between 570 to 800 deaths.

The cruise line said passengers affected by the illness had responded well to over-the-counter medication administered on board the ship.

The company said it enhanced cleaning on board the ship during the cruise to help prevent the spread of the illness.

After the ship docked, the company said it "conducted an extensive and thorough sanitizing on board the ship and within the cruise terminal, to help prevent any illness from affecting the next sailing."

Passengers who boarded The Majesty of the Seas Friday received a letter asking if they had experienced any gastrointestinal symptoms within the last three days. Those who felt uncomfortable were allowed to reschedule their trip, the cruise line said.

This is the latest setback to hit the cruise industry.

Last May, a fire broke out on the Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas cruise ship, forcing passengers to fly home.

In February, an engine-room fire left the Carnival Triumph adrift in the Gulf of Mexico.

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