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Investigation Update - December 12, 2002

This website is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.

During the span of October 2002 through December 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) investigated several instances of gastrointestinal illness aboard cruise ships. VSP worked closely with cruise industry officials to identify the causes for the following are updates of investigations:

Holland America’s Amsterdam;

Disney’s Disney Magic;

Carnival’s Fascination; and

P & O's Oceana.

Holland America's Amsterdam

The Amsterdam returned to service on December 1, and its staff has provided daily reports to CDC. For the cruise ending December 11, the vessel reported 10 of 1,190 passengers and 2 of 577 crew members experienced a gastrointestinal illness, well below the level of concern. No additional follow-up is required at this time.

Disney's Disney Magic

After a week of extensive cleaning and disinfection, the Disney Magic returned to service on December 7. The Magic will be providing CDC with daily reports through the end of its current cruise. As of December 11, the vessel reported 25 of 2,153 passengers and none of the 1,026 crew members with gastrointestinal illness.

Carnival's Fascination

Food and water samples taken from the Fascination for the cruise ending December 2, 2002 and tested positive for norovirus.

By December 9, the vessel completed two additional cruises. The voyage ending on December 6 the number of ill people aboard the ship had returned to expected levels; the Fascination’s medical staff reported that 13 of 2,042 passengers and 12 of 907 crew had reported gastrointestinal illness. For the voyage ending on December 9, 6 of 2038 passengers and 7 of 922 crew reported ill.

P & O's Oceana

On December 7, CDC staff boarded the Oceana to conduct interviews with ill passengers and crew. CDC staff also conducted an environmental assessment and reviewed ongoing cleaning/disinfection of the vessel. CDC epidemiologists surveyed a sample of the passengers and all of the crew in an effort to determine how the outbreak began and what particular activities may be leading to person-to-person spread aboard the ship. Stool specimens were shipped to CDC and tested posotive for norovirus. On December 11, the vessel’s medical staff notified CDC that 269 of 1,862 passengers and 24 of 871 crew had reported to the ship’s infirmary with gastrointestinal illness. All of the passengers originated in the United Kingdom and flew on chartered aircraft to Ft. Lauderdale, the point of embarkation. On November 29, the vessel underwent an unannounced, routine inspection. The Oceana scored 95 out of 100 points.

General Information

Cruise ship travelers are reminded that simple hygienic practices, such as frequent and thorough hand washing and avoiding contact with other passengers when ill, are important measures to prevent the spread of disease.

Additional information about CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program is available at

Additional information on gastrointestinal diseases is available at

Information on Norwalk-like viruses is available at

CDC protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.

For more information, CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program can be reached at