Virgin Voyages has reported an outbreak of gastroenteritis or norovirus on its flagship cruise ship, Scarlet Lady. Approximately 3% of guests on the most recent sailing experienced symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, aches, cramps, and low-grade fever. The cruise line has taken appropriate measures to mitigate the spread of the illness, including isolating affected travelers and implementing enhanced sanitization procedures. The outbreak has been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as required for outbreaks that affect 2% or more of passengers or crew. This is the first illness outbreak on a Virgin Voyages ship in 2023 that requires reporting to the CDC.
The affected sailing was a 5-night cruise to Riviera Maya, with no impact on port stays or the ship’s return to Miami. The next sailing, departing on October 13, will proceed as scheduled, with no changes to the itinerary. Guests onboard the upcoming voyage have been notified of the outbreak and will be encouraged to follow thorough handwashing recommendations. Additional mitigation measures, such as enhanced cleaning and increased availability of hand sanitizer, may also be implemented.
While outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness are not uncommon on cruise ships due to the close quarters, it is important for guests to take steps to protect themselves. This includes avoiding high-contact surfaces, practicing frequent handwashing, and staying hydrated and well-rested. The outbreak on Scarlet Lady is not related to COVID-19 or any respiratory illness.