Jan. 29 - A Royal Caribbean cruise ship returns to New Jersey two days ahead of schedule after more than 600 passengers and staff had fallen ill with what cruise officials are calling ''a gastrointestinal illness.'' Jillian Kitchener reports.
Waves of joy as a Royal Caribbean cruise ship arrives back in New Jersey's port. Getting sick on vacation is not something anyone wants to deal with. But for almost 600 passengers on board, this nightmare became a reality. The Centers for Disease Control reported that 595 passengers and 50 crew members were taken ill aboard the ship, with an outbreak of vomiting and diarrhea. Dave Bowden was one of them: (SOUNDBITE) (English) DAVE BOWDEN, PASSENGER FROM THE UK WHO GOT SICK ON BOARD, SAYING: "First thing that happened, my wife got very sick in the night, really sick. And then about five o' clock in the morning I got the same symptoms. She was a lot better by the morning and I carried on having the same problems. So I went down to the medical and they dealt with me there. I was in quarantine for 24 hours." The affected passengers were quarantined in their cabins and everything they touched was placed in biohazard bags. A Royal Caribbean official says all guests were compensated: (SOUNDBITE) (English) LISA LUTOFF-PERLO, EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT OF ROYAL CARIBBEAN, SAYING: "Yes all of our guests got compensation. They got 50 percent off the cruise they are on currently. They got 50 percent off their next cruise. And any guests who unfortunately fell ill and had to stay in their cabin for two days, they also got a credit for those two days on their future cruise." The cruise line said it believes the illnesses are consistent with norovirus, though the cause of the illness is still being investigated.