Advisory on Sea Princess cruise departing June 9. 2011

Advisory on Sea Princess cruise departing June 9. 2011

On the current sailing of Sea Princess there has been an increase in the number of cases of gastrointestinal illness amongst passengers caused by Norovirus, a common illness. It will be necessary for the ship to undergo a prolonged and additional disinfection in San Francisco on Thursday, June 9, 2011. As a consequence, embarkation will be delayed.

Cruise check-in is now scheduled to begin at 5:30pm. To ensure a smooth start to your voyage, we operate a staggered check-in schedule as noted below determined by your deck and cabin number. We kindly request that you plan to arrive at your scheduled check-in time.

5:30pm - Aloha, Plaza & Riviera Decks / Cabins A201-A745, P225-P349, R303-R351
6:30pm - Caribe & Emerald Decks / Cabins C201-C749, E301-E353
7:00pm - Baja & Dolphin Decks / Cabins B201-B755, D201-D753

Passengers arriving prior to 5:30pm will be asked to return when check-in begins as there is very limited seating space in the terminal.
All passengers must be onboard by 7:30pm.

In addition, our delayed departure will require itinerary changes to your upcoming cruise. Our call to Juneau on June 12 has been cancelled and replaced with a call to Sitka. The call to Haines on June 14 has also been cancelled and replaced with a call to Juneau. The revised itinerary is available on the Cruise Personalizer.

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What is Norovirus?
Norovirus is an extremely common virus which generally causes mild gastroenteritis (an inflammation of the stomach and the intestines). This virus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in developed countries and is so widespread that only the common cold is reported more frequently.

Symptoms of Norovirus include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Some people may also experience headache, fever and abdominal cramps. Symptoms usually last between 1 and 3 days and generally resolve without treatment or long term consequences. The incubation period of the virus averages about 24 hours.
Incidence: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 23 million cases or 8% of the population is affected each year. Historical data have indicated that the incidence of contracting Norovirus on land in the U.S. is as high as 1 in 12 persons; and only 1 in 4000 on a cruise ship.

Is Norovirus a serious illness?
Not for most people. People who get Norovirus almost always recover completely without any long-term problems. It may be more severe however, for infants, young children, the elderly and those with debilitating health conditions including those who are immunocompromised. They have a greater risk of dehydration from loss of fluids. They may need to be hospitalized for treatment to prevent or correct dehydration.

Is the illness contagious? How is this virus spread?
Yes, Norovirus is highly contagious and can be easily spread by direct person to person contact. As the viral particles are able to survive for long periods in the environment, the illness can also be spread via contact with surfaces such as hand rails, door knobs, and elevator buttons or by sharing food, water or eating utensils. Persons who have contracted this illness will remain contagious for about 2 days after their symptoms have resolved.

How is Norovirus treated?
The most important aspect of treating the illness is to prevent dehydration by drinking large amounts of clear fluids. The doctor may prescribe medications to treat the specific symptoms of the illness, especially the vomiting and diarrhea. Antibiotics are not effective against Norovirus.

Can Norovirus be prevented?
You can reduce the risk of getting infected by frequent hand washing. To prevent person-to-person spread, ensure that you wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap for at least 20 seconds and rinse them well under running water. Ensure that you follow this procedure each time you use the toilet, after coughing or sneezing and before eating, drinking, or smoking. Avoid touching your mouth.