Fred Olsen Cruise Lines today confirmed that hundreds of passengers had fallen ill with norovirus on board the ship Balmoral.

The US Centers for Disease Control said some 252 of the 919 passengers on board the ship had the stomach virus.

Eight of the 520 crew had also contracted the illness, the CDC said.

The line confirmed that a gastro-enteritis type illness had affected a cumulative total of 252 passengers.

“There are currently 15 guests who have been required to remain in their cabins, out of a total of 1,434 guests and crew on board,” the company said.

“Balmoral has undergone inspections by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and US Coastguard and received a US Public Health score of 91%,” the company said.

“Fred Olsen has been undertaking extensive sanitisation measures and cleaning of the ship, following the company’s strict illness containment and prevention plan.

“Balmoral has now left the US and is due to arrive in Saint John, New Brunswick in Canada later today (Monday).

“Fred Olsen is co-operating fully with all the necessary maritime agencies and authorities and will continue to make every effort possible to ensure the safety and well-being of all its guests and crew on board, which is of paramount ‎importance.

“At no point has Balmoral been quarantined in any port on this cruise, and is continuing as planned.”

The ship left Southampton on a 34-night ‘Old England to New England’ cruise on April 16 and arrived in Portland, Maine, on Sunday.

An initial outbreak of norovirus was reported on the ship last week. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhoea.