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(NEW YORK POST) – Almost 200 passengers aboard one of the world’s largest cruise ships have been struck down with diarrhea and vomiting after indulging in a “bottomless buffet.”
The mighty Ovation of the Seas, which carries more than 5,800, had been at sea for 14 days after a trip to Singapore when 195 passengers reported suffering from gastrointestinal illness.
One passenger posted a video on Facebook showing hallways being sprayed by crew members in industrial cleaning suits after it docked in Hobart, Tasmania.
“I’m on here now and basically a sitting duck with people in both cabins either side not well with the gastro,” another person commented on the video.
“They are doing everything perfectly to avoid further sickness. I could hear them last night doing this spraying outside my cabin.”
Another reported restaurants could not be accessed, finger food had been stopped and a galley tour had been canceled.
A letter posted on the internet revealed the Bottomless Brunch service had been cut back after the outbreak.
Other passengers praised the crew’s efforts to deal with the outbreak.
“The ship is doing absolutely everything to control it, you wash your hands at least a dozen times a day. Their hygiene is first class, it’s obviously a passenger that’s brought it on,” one passenger told the ABC.
Crew members decked out in industrial cleaning suits complete with face masks were seen spraying down hallways of the lavish ship in the video posted to Facebook Royal Caribbean International, which owns the ship. Dozens of passengers reportedly received over-the-counter medication for gastroenteritis.
The ship will be “comprehensively sanitized and cleansed” once it arrives at its next port in Sydney and before new passengers board.
Tasmania’s director of public health, Mark Veitch, said five people from the ship had been taken to the hospital but couldn’t confirm whether any were suffering from gastroenteritis.
“Outbreaks of highly infectious conditions such as gastro and respiratory illness can occur in cruise ships, where a population the size of a medium-size town mixes closely together,” he said.
The Ovation of the Seas was expected to leave Tasmania Tuesday afternoon.
“Those affected by the short-lived illness were treated by our ship’s doctors with over-the-counter medication and we hope all our guests feel better quickly,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement.
“Meanwhile, we’re taking steps like intensive sanitary procedures to minimize the risk of any further issues.”
“We communicate well-established educational hand hygiene practices to all passengers and crew. Hand-washing basins are provided at key dining venues and hand sanitizers at all restaurants and bar entrances, where the crew are located encouraging guests to use the sanitizing hand product.”
“It is imperative that any guests who are experiencing or have experienced any symptoms of illness advise us as soon as possible so that they can be provided the care required and to prevent any further spread.”