Sea Princess Cruise Gastro: Passengers Tell of Staff ‘Sanitising Everything’ After Outbreak

People on a cruise in which at least one-in-10 passengers were struck down with gastro say they remain unfazed by the prospect of a getting the virus on their holiday.

The Sea Princess docked in Brisbane this morning, returning from a two-week round trip to New Zealand.

Queensland Health confirmed about 200 people on board were believed to have been infected by norovirus.

Leon Wallace from the Sunshine Coast spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day quarantined with the virus.

“I guess it’s the nature of it. So many people trapped on board a confined vessel,” Mr Wallace said.

But Leon and his wife Julie were not deterred by the experience and said they would go on a cruise again.

He said staff were “constantly cleaning” and “sanitising everything”.

Access to buffet restricted after outbreak

Passenger Megan Smith said when the cruise began there was a buffet-style eatery where people served themselves, but that changed when the gastro broke out.

“You weren’t allowed to get your own food,” she said.

“They all had gloves on. They made you wash your hands for 20 seconds before you went into the smorgasbord area.”

She said the captain addressed the passengers each morning on a loud speaker, updating the number of cases that day and reminding people about hygiene.

Another passenger said norovirus spreads so easily on a cruise.

“Almost every cruise I’ve been on there have been cases of norovirus,” he said.

He said Princess Cruises did all they could.

“Every night they disinfect everything,” he said.

“You can’t stop people being people.”

In a message to passengers on its Facebook page, Princess Cruises said there had been “elevated case counts of gastrointestinal illness among guests” on the cruise.

It said staff undertook a comprehensive sanitation program during the cruise and that the ship would undergo additional disinfection in Brisbane as a precaution.

The Sea Princess is at least the fourth cruise to be dogged by gastro in the past year.