Nearly 300 passengers fall ill onboard Ruby Princess cruise ship

Nearly 10% of the passengers onboard a Ruby Princess cruise became ill with symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea between Feb. 26 and March 5, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The cause of the outbreak that sickened 284 passengers and 34 crew members is not known.

The crew of the Galveston, Texas-based ship said it responded with increased cleaning and disinfection procedures, informing embarking passengers of the issue and collecting stool specimens from gastrointestinal illness cases, which were delivered to the CDC.

Health officials met the ship when it docked in Texas, according to CBS News. Princess Cruises reportedly suspects that norovirus, also called “the cruise ship virus,” may be to blame for last week’s illnesses. The CDC reports norovirus is frequently detected at sea because health officials track illnesses on cruise ships. indicated the Ruby Princess was docked on an island north of the Honduras coast Wednesday. It visited Mexico, Belize and Honduras during the voyage in which illnesses were reported.

The ship sailed into infamy at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic when 2,700 of its passengers were permitted to disembark in Sydney, Australia, despite several people onboard showing signs of respiratory illness. The decision was blamed for roughly 900 COVID-19 infections in Australia.

Ruby Princess launched on Nov. 8, 2008. It was christened by reality stars Trista and Ryan Sutter of “The Bachelorette” fame. The ship’s webpage promises relaxation and “new adventures.”

Travel site Cruise Critic awarded Princess Cruises its “Best Innovation/Tech” honor in 2022. It was given a 4.5 out of 5 editors’ rating overall.