Princess Cruises News Center
Notices and Advisories
Statement on Caribbean Princess Early Arrival Into Houston
January 31, 2014
Caribbean Princess Update:
Caribbean Princess has returned to the Port of Houston and passengers have disembarked. The ship was forced to return to Houston one day early because we were informed that dense fog was expected to close the port for much of the weekend. The ship did not return early because of the increased incidence of norovirus on board, despite some media reports.
On January 29 we received the following weather report from ImpactWeather, a respected weather forecasting company, which prompted our decision:
Two fog events are expected during the next week. The first is expected to begin Friday
morning and last through Sunday afternoon. Southeasterly winds are expected to bring
increased moisture into the area. This will lead to the formation of the fog on Friday.
There will likely be patchy fog in the morning and early afternoon. However, dense fog
should form in the late afternoon and evening hours. Breaks in the fog are not likely until
the cold front moves offshore late Sunday morning or early Sunday afternoon. Thus, we
are expecting that the ship channel will be closed for parts of Friday, all day Saturday,
and Sunday through the afternoon hours. The second fog event will begin about 24 hours
after the first event ends. This is because southerly winds will become reestablished over
the area, once again bringing moisture into the area. This second fog event is expected
to end late Tuesday, when another cold front moves offshore. Thus additional closures
are likely from late Monday afternoon or evening through late Tuesday.
Regarding the illnesses onboard this past cruise, Caribbean Princess experienced an increase in the number of reported cases of gastroenteritis among passengers, which was confirmed to be caused by norovirus, a common gastrointestinal illness which is currently widely circulating throughout North America. In response, we immediately implemented aggressive and comprehensive disinfection measures developed in conjunction with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As a result of our actions, case numbers declined significantly and by the end of the cruise there were no passengers with active symptoms. Over the course of the 178 passengers (5.7%) and 11 crew (1%) reported ill to the Medical Center.
We notified the CDC who boarded Caribbean Princess this morning to oversee the extensive sanitation program planned over two days. The next cruise will depart tomorrow as scheduled, February 1.
January 30, 2014
Caribbean Princess is being forced to return to Houston one day early because we were informed that dense fog is expected to close the port for much of the weekend, and we are mindful of our passengers’ safety and comfort, as well as the disruption the port’s closing will have on their onward travel plans. This has, unfortunately, necessitated the cancellation of the scheduled call to Belize. The seven-day cruise, which departed January 25, is sailing on a Western Caribbean itinerary, also calling at Cozumel and Roatan.
We truly regret having to make this change to our passengers’ vacations, and we hope they understand that we did not have any choice but to return to Houston early before the unusually heavy fog closes the port.
Passengers will now disembark and proceed through the standard Customs and Immigration clearance that occurs at U.S. turnaround ports on Friday, January 31. Passengers with scheduled air flights from Houston will be accommodated overnight at local hotels by Princess, and they will receive a future cruise credit of 20% of their fare, as well as one day per diem to help offset any ancillary expenses such as meals.
Simultaneously, onboard the current sailing, Caribbean Princess has experienced an increase in the number of cases of gastroenteritis among passengers, which has been confirmed to be norovirus, a common but contagious illness which is widely circulating throughout North America. Because of the increased sensitivity surrounding norovirus by both cruise lines and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in this winter season, we notified the CDC who will be boarding on Friday to ensure all appropriate measures are followed for an extensive sanitation of the ship prior to the next cruise departing February 1. Approximately five passengers have current active symptoms of norovirus, and over the course of the cruise 165 passengers reported ill to the medical center.
A total of 3,104 passengers and 1,149 crew members are on board.
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