A Princess cruise ship returned to Florida Everglades Harbor early Thursday due to hundreds of passengers and crew suffering from gastrointestinal illness.
The disease among those aboard the Caribbean Princess came as another of the cruise line's ships, the Diamond Princess, remains in quarantine off Japan with more than 200 people sickened aboard COVID-19, a disease caused by the coronavirus.
Caribbean Princess left Fort Lauderdale on February 2 and was due to return on February 16, but returned three days earlier after 345 passengers and 26 crew members fell ill, with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, Centers said for Disease Control and Prevention. About 4,200 people were on board.
The ship was denied entry during its voyage to at least one port, Trinidad and Tobago, for health reasons, NBC South Florida reported.
The cause of the epidemic is unknown, according to the CDC.
The ship will undergo "super sanitary cleaning" and a team from the CDC's ship sanitation program met with the ship in port to investigate the outbreak. The Caribbean Princess will resume its regular schedule and depart on its next cruise on February 16, reported the CDC.
A press release from Princess Cruises said the trip was cut short "by an abundance of caution due to the fact that customers were reporting symptoms corresponding to a mild case of gastrointestinal illness".
"This is a very unusual development and we share the disappointment of our customers," the statement said. Passengers will receive a 50% refund for the cruise to be used for a future Princess cruise.
No case of COVID-19 has been identified on the Caribbean Princess, notes the press release from Princess Cruises.
The cruise line confirmed on Thursday that 44 more people on board the quarantined Diamond Princess in Japan have confirmed they have COVID-19, bringing the total to 218, the Japanese Ministry of Health announced on Thursday.
The ship is scheduled to be quarantined until February 19.
There have been no deaths from COVID-19 on the cruise ship.
The disease killed more than 1,300 people in mainland China as of Thursday local time, according to Chinese authorities.