Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas, which was struck by a major storm in the Atlantic earlier this month, has turned back to its home port after bad weather threatened its current cruise.
The vessel is to return to the port of Bayonne, New Jersey.
But there are also reports of a norovirus outbreak on board after a passenger said sanitation efforts had been increased, according to Sky News.
A spokeswoman for the cruise line, said: “The decision to return home was based on avoiding forecasted gale warning weather conditions along our original itinerary and our desire to ensure the safety and comfort of our guests and crew.”
She said that “a small percentage of our guests have experienced gastrointestinal illness thought to be norovirus” – some nine or 10 cases per day out of more than 6,000 passengers and crew on board.
She added: “Those affected by the short-lived illness are responding well to over-the-counter medicine”.
John Turell, an executive with the Associated Press news agency who is on board the ship with his wife, said the ship’s captain and cruise director made announcements telling passengers of the norovirus outbreak.
He said: “Sanitation levels on the ship have been boosted. (Ship) workers are scurrying around like ants, scrubbing down handrails, tables and any other surfaces that can be washed.”
Passengers were told on Saturday night that the cruise was being cut short by two days because of the storm developing off Cape Hatteras, he added.
Planned stops in Barbados and St Kitts were cancelled and the ship is expected to arrive in New Jersey on Wednesday.
Four people were injured on Anthem of the Seas earlier this month after the vessel was hit by 30ft waves and winds of more than of 100mph during a storm off North Carolina.
The ship was based in Southampton last summer for its first summer of operations.
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