Source: Cruise Junkie dot Com

Illness Outbreaks at Sea by Celebrity Cruises

Events by Ship:

Illness Outbreaks by Ship:

Click here for Environmental Events and Fines by Celebrity Cruises (RCCL)
Click here to return to Events by ... Index Page

The events listed have been reported in the public domain or to cruisejunkie by passengers or crew members onboard.  The list is by no means comprehensive.  For that reason it is necessary to be cautious in drawing conclusions from the potentially limited data.  Keep in mind that some companies may be more transparent than others about things that go wrong; conversely, some companies may be better at concealing events and thereby project an appearance that is inaccurate.  With that said, the following list is still interesting, as are the patterns seen viewed separately by ship.

Ship 2012
December 25 Celebrity Solstice From a passenger: Decmber 10 13 day cruise Sydney-New Zealand return: Many people with Gastro illness (STARTED ON THIRD DAY). Cleaning on ship was stepped up during the voyage. My partner was quarantined for 24 hours. Both of us were sick during cruise. Now we have severe chest coughing - started on the nineth day of cruise. Captains club staff assured us that the Ship was going to have a high level of cleaning on 23rd December, 2012. Many people vomiting in public areas. Also most people on board were commenting upon how much illness was on board. On 20th December there was a ship wide announcement from the Cruise Director (Ian Cresswell that there has been an increased number of guests with gastrointestinal illness onboard and was reminding all guests to frequently and thoroughly wash hands.
October 28 Celebrity Constellation From a reader: It has been reported that 4.5 percent guests and 3.5 percent crew have reported GI illness. The ship is sailing in the South Pacific so data will not be reported to the CDC. Update November 1: The percentage reporting ill is now 15% of passengers and 6% of crew. BBC reports the ship arrived in Southampton at 06:00 GMT at the end of a 12-night cruise. Southampton's Port Health Authority said about 350 passengers had fallen ill with the vomiting and diarrhoea bug. Its departure was delayed until 20:00 while deep cleaning took place.
September 21 Celebrity Solstice Cruise Law News reports there was a gastrointestinal outbreak on the Celebrity Solstice at the end of August. One cruise passenger contacted us and stated:  "Our Celebrity Solstice cruise out of Barcelona on 8/27/12 had a huge outbreak of the norovirus. People were sick at the end of the cruise, however Celebrity loaded up the ship to head back out the same day. I don't see how in the world the boat could have been cleaned thoroughly." The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) do not document cases of cruise ship norovirus / gastrointestinal illness when the cruise ships do not call on a U.S. port.  
February 10 Celebrity Silhouette The CDC reports 174 of 2809 passengers (6.19%) and 11 of 1236 crew (0.89%) have reported ill with gastrointestinal illness. A CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officer amd an epidemiologist will board the ship on arrival in Newark on February 10, 2012 to conduct a targeted environmental health assessment and evaluated the outbreak and response activities. The ship is on a 12 day cruise that began January 28 and ends February 10, 2012.
February 10 Celebrity Constellation The CDC reports 95 of 1992 passengers (4.77%) and 12 of 946 crew (1.27%) have reported ill with gastrointestinal illness. Two CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officers will board the ship on arrival in Ft. Lauderdale on February 11, 2012 to conduct a targeted environmental health assessment and evaluated the outbreak and response activities. The ship is on a 14 day cruise that began January 28 and ends February 11, 2012
Ship 2011
December 27 Celebrity Solstice A poster at Cruise Critic writes: Just off the Dec 18 to 26 Solstice Holiday cruise. It was a great cruise until December 25 evening when a family member developed severe GI problems. The nurse practitioner who visited our cabin informed us that multiple cases of GI distress had begun occurring that evening and that 3 medical teams were "swamped" dealing with the outbreak. Although the nurse practitioner thought the outbreak was due to Noro virus, I am suspicious that the outbreak may have been due to food poisoning, as no other family members (who shared close quarters), developed symptoms. Symptoms resolved after about 18 hours.
December 9 Celebrity Constellation From a passenger: I just returned home. I did a 13 night that got into FLL on 12/3 from Barcelona and it was delayed boarding 5 hours because of a deep clean. The whole cruise was very different: no boarding drinks, no captain's club buffets, no brunches. The entire cruise everything including beverages were served. Not even napkins were available. Bleach ruined some of my clothes from the "deep clean" They were spraying bleach in every room with a steam machine after each event. The prior cruise Istanbul/ Turkey was so bad it was reported people got #2 at the buffet, and in the Solarium Jacuzzi!!! The men in orange suits arrived, but people continued to eat. :(
December 8 Celebrity Solstice The CDC reports reports 118 of 2730 passengers (4.32%) and 9 of 1211 crew (0.72%) have reported ill with gastrointestinal illness. Three CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officers and an epidemiologists will board the ship on arrival in Fort Lauderdale on December 11, 2011, to conduct a targeted environmental health assessment and evaluate the outbreak and response activities. The ship is on a 14 day cruise ending December 11th.
November 4 Celebrity Solstice From a passenger: Around the 29/30 of October noticed that additional cleaning was being undertaken, and there was a rumour that some people were ill on board. On the 31st Oct we received a letter from the Captain indicating a number of passengers had reported to the infirmary with ghastrointestinal illness - buffets became non self service, and all passengers were given gel to clean hands before eating. Numbers of passengers affected unknown, but the outbreak was professionally handled by all staff, and without this could have probably been much worse. From another passenger: As a passenger on this cruise I can confirm that there was an outbreak of Novo Virus during the cruise. A senior officer advised me that the source had been traced to a Celebrity tour operator who provided lunch as part of a ship organised tour to Kotor, Montenegro on Saturday 29th October. Another crew member said that the ship had been put on RED Alert, suggesting a high number of passengers had shown symptoms of the virus. The self service buffet facility was withdrawn and all food and drink was served by crew for the remainder of the cruise. They also undertook a strict programme of cleaning all areas of the ship in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.
May 27 Celebrity Millennium The CDC reports reports 104 of 2058 passengers (5.1%) and 9 of 921 crew (0.98%) have reported ill with gastrointestinal illness. Two CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officers boarded the ship on arrival in Juneau, AK on May 24, 2011 to conduct a limited, targeted environmental health assessment and evaluated the outbreak and response activities.
February 2 Celebrity Solstice According to a letter sent to travel agents by Celebrity Cruises, We are writing to provide you with important information regarding your clients booked on the February 6, sailing of Celebrity Solstice. Please provide this information, as soon as possible, to your clients booked on this sailing. During Celebrity Solstice’s last sailing, a small number of guests onboard experienced a gastrointestinal illness, thought to be a norovirus. In an abundance of caution, we are conducting some enhanced sanitizing onboard the ship and within the cruise terminal, as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, to help prevent any illness from affecting your client’s cruise. Because of this additional sanitizing, check in and boarding is now anticipated to begin at approximately 3:00 p.m. We apologize for this delay to your client’s boarding. Since parking and seating at the cruise terminal is very limited, we ask that guests arrive at the terminal between 3:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m From a reader: While I was not onboard that ship in particular, I personally spoke with 5 other passengers who disembarked on Feb 6 (I was on a Carnival ship) and they reported that by Feb 2, the ship was experiencing extreme measures to combat the spread of the virus, such as mandatory use of sani gel, removal of all table items (salt/pepper shakers, etc) and limiting movement on the ship. I was told a number of passengers were very ill but none of those I spoke with had any symptoms themselves. One passenger had heard an entire floor had been quarantined, but none of the other passengers I spoke with could confirm that. However, one couple had a stateroom next door to an elderly couple, of which the man had developed illness that seemed related to a norovirus. He subsequently passed away around mid-day on Feb 5. I don’t know any further details nor can I confirm any of the information. I will note that none of the passengers I spoke with were connected with one another and the conversations happened at different times in different locations in the Ft Lauderdale airport and on our flight to DFW. UPDATE: The CDC reports 118 of 2839 passengers (4.16%) and 10 of 1227 crew (0.819%) have reported ill with gastrointestinal illness.
Ship 2010
26.5.10 Constellation A passenger writes: We took a Baltic Sea cruise on May16 out of Amsterdam and at some point, there were anywhere from 80 to 200 cases of Norovirus in crew and passengers.  The ship went into their mode for containing infection, etc. The ship had been in dry dock for refurbishing with much new equipment, etc, and I'm very curious about the cruise that began the day we disembarked.  Apparently they were about 4 hours late departing while the ship was sanitized (if that can truly be done). June 6: King 5 News reports the cruise line confirmed that 96 passengers had contracted gastrointestinal illness caused by norovirus.
15.3.10 Mercury USA Today reports the ship is ending the current cruise a day early, on Thursday (March 18), in order to allow for a deep cleaning. This is the third successive cruises with a gastrointestinal illness outbreak -- numbers of ill have not yet been reported. The Miami Herald reports the port call at British Virgin Islands was cancelled and that the number reporting ill was 350 of 1,829 passengers. CNN reports the CDC is making a no-sail recommendation for at least four full days for the Celebrity Mercury cruise ship to investigate recurring outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness, a CDC spokesman said Monday. "The CDC and the cruise line corporate staff have not yet determined why the controls that they were following have not been effective," said CDC spokesman Ricardo Beato. Celebrity Cruises has been notified of the no-sail recommendation, Beato said. CNN reports the ship will depart two day late for its next cruise, alotting three days for a deep cleaning. The CDC's no-sail recommendation was for four full days. Celebrity Cruises spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said the cruise line worked with the CDC on a sanitation plan "that was agreeable to both parties." UPDATE March 17: The CDC reports that 369 of 1829 passengers (20.17%) and 13 of 857 crew (1.52%) have reported ill with gastrointestinal illness. Update March 18: The CDC now reports that 406 of 1829 passengers (22.1%) and 13 of 857 crew (1.52%) have reported ill with gastrointestinal illness.
5.3.10 Mercury The Charleston Post and Courier reports since the ship set sail from Charleston on Saturday, 55 of the 1,880 passengers have fallen ill with norovirus. The ship's most recent departure was delayed a day as a cleaning crew sanitized it, and three officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention went aboard to test for the virus.UPDATE: The CDC reports that 182 of 1749 passengers (10.41%) and 14 of 850 crew (1.65%) reported ill on the cruise ending March 8 in Charleston.
3.3.10 Millennium The CDC reports that 157 of 2020 passengers (7.76%) and 23 of 938 crew (2.45%) have reported ill with gastrointestinal illness. The ship arrives at San Juan March 5th from an 11 day cruise. From a passenger: I was onboard the Feb 22 - Mar 5 cruise. I, my daughter and sister-in-law that stayed in the same cabin all came down with the Norovirus. I have been on 27 cruises, and never before have I experienced anything like this. It was horrible, and the medical staff handled the situation poorly. We were so sick, called down to the medical and they stated they would be up to our cabin in 30 minutes. 3 hours later, we called back and were then told we would have to come down. Let me tell you, you are so sick and weak, this would have been impossible. We finally made it down hours later, and were treated. It isn't pleasant to go and sit in such a small area with more sick people who have this illness. We have been given a credit for only one day, which was the length we were in isolation, which in my opinion is a joke....You are so sick and weak after this that is took us three days to feel up to anything and then for the rest of the cruise we didn't do any excursions, with the fear of being out on a catamaran and having a flare up. It really limited the rest of the cruise. I might add, that while having been on other cruises, RC for example, you always see them cleaning the public areas. We never saw this on the Millennium, until after several days of the captain coming on and announcing that the virus was going around did they really start to try to clean the public areas. After we came down with the virus, on about the fifth day of the cruise, they took away anyone being able to serve themselves in the buffet or dining room. So sorry it took them so long, even after knowing people were coming down ill, did they start the process that should have been enforced since the first day of anyone coming down with the illness.
22.2.10 Mercury Associated Press reports 326 guests and 27 crew members have fallen ill with a stomach ailment -- passengers began complaining Sunday of upset stomachs, vomiting and diarrhea. A company spokesperson said the ship's medical facilities were overwhelmed and another doctor and nurse came aboard in St. Kitts in the British Virgin Islands. The ship made four other stops in the Caribbean. It's not clear what pathogen was involved, but samples were being dropped off in Puerto Rico for testing. The ship left Charleston on Feb. 15 and is scheduled to return Feb. 26. UPDATE: WIBW reports the numberofill passengers is now 419. UPDATE Feb 25: CDC reports the numbers ill were 411 of 1833 passengers (22.43%) and 32 of 843 crew (3.8%) Disembarking passengers spoke of a rumor that the outbreak stemmed to a Caribbean excursion that included punch and cookies, but this is unconfirmed.
Ship 2009
15.12.09 Summit Posters at Cruise Critic ask: Anyone know how many people were ill with Gastro-intestinal illnesses, norovirus, food poisoning etc on board Summit's transatlantic sailing (November 28th)? Figures heard on board varied from 20 to 157. It'd be interesting to know the actual number. Another person says: According to the info we were given on the Solstice it was high enough to go to "Code Red". If that helps. Note: Code Red means 3% of passengers reported ill (more than 60). Given the ship had left from a non-U.S. port, the outbreak may not be reported to the CDC.
13.6.09 Millennium From a passenger: My wife and I were on the cruise from Seward AK to Vancouver BC and I experienced Norovirus.  Was terribly sick for 24 hours; ships doc arrived 13 hours after my request to see him.  Was isolated for a second day, as well as my wife to ensure she did not have it.  Celebrity seemed to respond very well, requiring staff to dispense water, juices, coffee, etc., and even removing salt/pepper shakers from tables.  Those who were isolated were asked to gather at special place on ship to disembark in advance of all other passengers (as required by Canadian health authorities, or so we were told).  40 of us were in that group (including spouses/travel companions who may not have contracted the virus, so at least 20 of the ~2000 passengers had been infected). Celebrity compensated us for our "lost days" (2 for me; 1 for my wife) - total of $1,200, which, as I am told, is far more than most cruiselines would do.
12.3.09 Mercury The ship reported 4 of 834 (0.48%) crew and 93 of 1862 (5.0%) passengers had reported ill with gastrointestinal illness on a 16 day circle cruise to Hawaii from San Diego. The cruise began February 28 and ends March 15. UPDATE March 13: CDC has revised the numbers to 6 crew (.72%) and 113 passengers (6.1%).
Mercury The ship reported 3 of 859 (0.3%) crew and 86 of 1842 (4.7%) passengers had reported ill with gastrointestinal illness on a 14 day Panama Canal cruise (San Diego to Fort Lauderdale) that began January 3 and ends January 17. Update January 13: Numbers have been revised to 5 of 859 (0.6%) crew and 127 of 1842 (6.9%) passengers.  Update January 17: Numbers have been revised to 7 of 859 (0.81%) crew and 150 of 1842 (8.14%) passengers.
Ship 2008
21.11.08 Constellation The ship reported 1 (0.10%) crew and 62 (3.15%) passengers had reported ill with gastrointestinal illness on a 10 day cruise to/from Fort Lauderdale.
Ship 2007
20.12.07 Century The ship reported 9 (1.05%) crew and 54 (3.21%) passengers had reported ill on a 17 day cruise ending in Miami today.
The ship reported that 11 of 613 (1.79%) crew and 89 of 1363  (6.53%) passengers had reported ill on a 12 day Eastern Caribbean cruise from Tampa (2 - 13 April). 
18.3.07 Mercury The ship reported that 11 (1.30%) crew and 58 (3.23%) passengers had reported ill on a 14 day cruise from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego (4 - 18 March).
Ship 2006
Infinity A passenger on the 3 - 17 December South America cruise reported a small outbreak of stomach virus --  medical charges related to the virus were waived (encouraging passengers to seek medical care) -- and passengers were not allowed to touch anything in the buffets including tongs and the tea/punch dispenser.  Those with the virus were quarantined in their cabins for 48 hours.
Summit The ship reported that 12 of 942 (1.27%) crew and 72 of 1911 (3.77%) passengers had reported ill on the  11 - 25 November cruise from Los Angeles to San Juan (Puerto Rico).  Symptons were consistent with gastrointestinal illness (e.g., norovirus)
Constellation The ship reported that 13 of 967  (1.34%) crew and 72 of 1776 (4.05%) passengers had reported ill on the  27 October - 7 November cruise to the Western Caribbean, leaving from and returning to Cape Liberty, NJ.  Symptoms were consistent with gastrointestinal illness (e.g., norovirus)
Constellation The ship reported that 1 of 978  (0.10%) crew and 65 of 1955 (3.32%) passengers had reported ill on the 16 - 27 October cruise to the Northeast and Canada, leaving from and returning to Cape Liberty, NJ.  Symptoms were consistent with gastrointestinal illness (e.g., norovirus).  Passengers on the following cruise also report (on Cruise Critic) that asignificant number of fellow passengers became ill during that cruise as well.
Infinity Health Canada reported that 20 of 952  (2.10%) crew and 105 of 2282 (4.60%) passengers were ill with symptoms consistent with norovirus.  The predominant symptoms were vomiting and diarrhea. 
The ship reported that 4 of 848  (0487%) crew and 121 of 2025 (5.98%) passengers were ill.  The predominant symptoms were vomiting and diarrhea.  The 7 day Alaska cruise ended in Seattle on June 9.
Mercury From a passenger onboard after two cruises with illness outbreaks:
We left San Diego on 03/27 - 4/07 cruise to the Mexican Riviera.  Embarkation was slightly delayed so the ship could be completely sanitized as 5% of the pax on previous cruise reported symptoms of GI illness.  We were told that some sanitizing efforts would be ongoing while the ship cruised. The reality was this: On day three they began spraying every surface with chlorine bleach around the clock. Doors, walls, hand rails, chairs, tables, desks, mirrors, elevators both inside and outside. Literally everything.  We left the ship in Acapulco on Sunday (April 2) because the living conditions were unbearable.  Walls were running with chlorine, clothes were being ruined, breathing was difficult, eyes and mucus membranes irritated from exposure to the fumes.  Many pax were annoyed and angry but I guess my tolerance is far less than theirs.  Celebrity agreed to pay for a flight home from Acapulco.  Passengers remaining onboard were told Tuesday night (April 4) that they would receive a 25 percent refund of the amount paid for this sailing, and a 25 percent credit for a future Celebrity cruise (based on the amount paid for this sailing).
Mercury The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the ship returned from a 10-day Mexican Riviera cruise during which 107 of 1976 (5.41%) passengers and 24 of 841 (2.85%) crew members reported ill with symptoms consistent with norovirus.  The cruise line's Director of Corporate Communications said the virus was brought on board by a guest, but the fact is that this is the second cruise in a row with the illness -- it was likely already on the ship.  Go here for a passenger's account of being onboard.
Mercury On March 14, 2006, Celebrity Cruises reported that an elevated number of passengers and crew were experiencing symptoms consistent with acute gastroenteritis, mainly diarrhea and vomiting.  On March 17, the ship’s medical staff indicated 14 of 840 (1.67%) crew and 191 of 1902 (10.04%) passengers had reported ill. The ship is on an 11 night Mexican Riviera cruise due to end in San Diego on March 17.
Zenith The ship reported that 20 (3.09%) crew and 17 of 1691 (1.22%) passengers had reported ill on the 9 - 14 January cruise.

Ship 2005
Horizon The CDC reports that 42 of 1309 passengers (3.2%) and 14 of 650 crew members (2.1%) reported  ill during the April 23 - April 30 cruise ending in Norfolk.
Zenith From a passemger:
As you know, there was widespread illness on the Zenith sailing that returned to JAX on March 13, 2005. The illness continued on the following cruise (ending March 27) as well.They had sprayed down with disinfectant all the public area surfaces and left it there to dry (mirrors, walls, handrails, etc.), and gave us a lengthy lecture on handwashing at embarkation. They had installed gel hand sanitizers at the entrance to all food service areas, and would not allow "serve yourself" in buffet lines for the first week. Then they eased up, wiped down all the surfaces and let us help ourselves. Then people started getting ill. From what I heard, approx. 150 people were quarantined. The bad part was they made it sound like pax would get free treatment at the ship's doctor for flu like symptoms, in an effort to control another outbreak. But, I had breakfast with a couple who had spent over $600 on mandatory doctor visits, flu "vaccines", injections, antibiotics and various other prescribed treatments. No compensation was offered for staying quarantined for 72 hours, or for the medical treatment.  (Second cruise in a row with an outbreak.)
Zenith The CDC reports that 138 of 1308 passengers (10.55%) and 16 of 657 crew members (2.44%) reported  ill during the February 27 - March 13 cruise ending in Jacksonville.  The cruise returns to Jacksonville in another week, so the numbers will likely increase.
There have been reports on Cruise Critic of recurring health problems over the past several months (gastrointestinal illness) on the ship.  The ship is not normally be inspected by the CDC because the ship operates outside US waters. 
From a passenger:
At least 600 people were ill with upper respiratory and norwalk virus.  They were calling it an epidemic.  People were so ill and most quarantined to their staterooms.  The ship was being cleaned constantly with straight bleach and had hand sanitizers everywhere.  The buffet servers all wore gloves and they stopped letting you serve yourself, no utinsels were allowed to be touched by the guests. Second cruise in a row with an outbreak.
From a passenger:
There were hundreds of people who got a stomach/diarrhea problem, and hundreds of others who contracted a bronchitis-type problem that required twice daily nebulizer treatments.  By the 9th day of the cruise, workers were constantly and meticulously scrubbing everything in sight, the food servers for the first time began to wear medical-type latex gloves, and there were dispensers of hand cleaning liquid at the beginning of each buffet line. 
Ship 2004
12.6 - 19.6.04
The following report was received:  "Sailed with Celebrity on this cruise. Sewer smell throughout ship, water was brown in our cabin, toilet vacuum system out for 2 days. My wife became ill and reported it to the staff who immediatly drew blood and treated her for stomach "virus". Cruise line admitted there was a problem with the sewer system but denied my wife was ill from this.  We noted the placement of hand sanitizers at the gang way immediatly following."
On April 8, the ship reported that 48 passengers and 7 crew had reported illness consistent with norovirus.  The cruise ran from March 28 - April 11.
On March 31, the ship reported that 49 passengers and 5 crew had reported illness consistent with norovirus.  The cruise ran from March 22 - April 2.
I received a report from a passenger who had been quarantined in his room for three days that a number of passengers became ill with gastrointestinal illness on the February 20th ten day cruise to Mexico. The total number reporting ill is unknown and probably remained below the 3% threshold (for this ship, less than 56) of the CDC.
Ship 2002 and earlier
134 people on a cruise that arrived at Port Everglades from Barcelona, Spain reportedly had gastrointestinal illness
Health Canada is investigating an outbreak of salmonella on two separate cruises (July 28, August 4).  30 cases were reported, though the outbreak likely affected more people who have not reported illness.  Salmonella is a bacteria that is transmitted through food or drink.
126 of 1920 passengers and crew reported illness. 
Illness (Norwalk virus) outbreak reported by CDC -- details unknown
Illness (Salmonella) outbreak reported by CDC -- about 220 passengers reported ill
Illness (Legionnella) outbreak reported by CDC -- 42 passengers reported ill, 14 confirmed Legionnella