Once again, passengers aboard a cruise have been stricken by a nasty stomach bug, leaving many with severe vomiting and diarrhea. Approximately 300 people on board the luxury cruise ship Aida Prima have become ill, forcing the ship to turn around after doctors were unable to properly care for everyone.
The Aida Prima, which left Palma in Majorca, Spain on September 22, had its Mediterranean passage interrupted by the sudden onset of a stomach virus. Passengers were expected to journey to Corsica, Rome, Florence and Barcelona but returned to Majorca after passengers began experiencing gastroenteritis. Sick travelers were ordered to remain in their cabins to avoid infecting other passengers.
The German cruise liner had to fly in medical staff to from Berlin to help out. However, many passengers still had to wait up to three hours to see a doctor. Others were told to wait in their cabins, where wait times exceeded five hours. Meanwhile, staff handed out brochures with hygiene tips and brought bread to sick travelers.
After returning to Palma, passengers were taken by bus to a farm in the suburbs while they waited for a flight back to Germany. Some passengers refused to board the bus and took the first flights available to return home. Aida Cruises told German newspaper Bild: “Despite the high hygiene measures that apply on board, there were cases of gastroenteritis among passengers.”
This is not the first time passengers aboard an Aida Cruises ship have become ill. Last month, 70 passengers on Aida Prima’s sister ship the Perla became ill and had to be quarantined until the ship docked in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam.
Aida Cruises said in a statement that staff had improved hygiene measures after “gastrointestinal infections occurred among passengers.” Experts recommend that travelers be wary of buffets where items can be left out for too long, resulting in food poisoning.
Also, “Make sure your food has been thoroughly cooked and is still hot or chilled when served,” an ABTA spokesman told Express.co.uk. “Avoid any uncooked food, apart from fruits and vegetables. Also, try not to mix up different food types by piling everything on one plate, remember you can always go back for another course.”
The World Health Organization advises travelers to also be keenly aware of any signs of poor hygiene. The presence of pests and flies or unclean surfaces is one sign. In addition, if food is handled manually, it should be avoided.
Aida Cruises, founded as Deutsche Seereederei with a ship called Völkerfreundschaft, is an American/British-owned German cruise line based in Rostock, Germany, which entered the cruise industry in the 1960s. The company was purchased by P&O Princess Cruises in 2000. In 2003, P&O Princess merged with Carnival Corporation, to form Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest cruise company. After the merger, executive control of Aida Cruises was delegated to Costa Cruises Group, one of the main operators of the Carnival Group, which is responsible for the group's European brands.