Houston, TX – Caribbean Princess at the port in Houston. Image: KHOU

The Caribbean Princess was forced to return to its Houston port after 170 passengers became sick from an outbreak of the Norovirus, the same virus that forced a Royal Caribbean ship, Explorer of the Seas, to return to its New Jersey port after over 700 were sickened from the same virus.

Caribbean Princess, owned by Princess Cruises, originally said it was returning to port due to fog but later admitted it was the Norovirus. The ship had set sail January 25 with 4,200 people on board. The Norovirus is a gastrointestinal sickness that causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

A team from the Centers for Disease Control, CDC, is on board the ship supervising and testing the ships sanitation efforts. A similar team boarded the Explorer of the Seas while it was docked in the U.S. Virgin Islands before returning to New Jersey early.

Despite the recent outbreaks on board cruise ships, travel experts say cruise ships are still very safe, and that all the major reputable cruise lines have high standards regrind health and safety issues.

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