Cruise ends in SC for liner hit by norovirus

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – After an 11-day cruise to the Caribbean in which more than 400 passengers and crew members came down with a strain of norovirus, the Celebrity Cruise Line ship, Mercury, returned to Charleston early Friday morning.

As passengers filed off the ship, many described the unpleasant symptoms that plagued the trip.

"It starts out, you know, you're just feeling a little queasy, and then it ends up nausea, diarrhea, vomiting," sick cruise passenger Marge Ritter said. "It was not pleasant. Fortunately, it only lasts about 24 hours. But then you're kind of weak and achy."

"It was just convulsive vomiting, and then followed by diarrhea through the morning," said Robert Mack, another sick passenger on the ship..

Some passengers talked of hearing about other sick people on the ship having to receive fluids intravenously. Several said they thought there were many more than the 413 cases reported.

The majority of passengers seemed to agree that Mercury's crew did a good job dealing with the outbreak, even though dozens of crew members were sickened by the same illness.

"[The crew was] very good. They went over and above what I think they should have done, really," said sick passenger Kenneth Thompson. They were doing all they could. They brought people in."

"Everywhere you looked there was somebody scrubbing and cleaning and trying to keep everybody healthy," Ritter said.

The ship's captain even brought in extra medical staff to treat the victims of the Norovirus outbreak.

"We contacted the medical facility and then they told us someone would be around to the room to tend to us," Mack said.

Doctors were able to prescribe antibiotics for many patients. For others they recommended over-the-counter nausea medicines. But they also insisted all of those infected with the Norovirus remain in their rooms for 24 hours until the illness subsided.

While many on the ship said the outbreak was an untimely annoyance, few said it was bad enough to ruin thein whole vacation.

"I think most people just took it as 'well, you know, it happens unfortunately, and we just happened to be the lucky cruise ship.

After all passengers were off the ship, crews were expected to do another thorough, but hurried cleaning before a new group of 1,800 passengers boarded Mercury Friday afternoon and she headed out for another 11-day Caribbean cruise.

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