Federal health officials say passengers aboard the first cruise ship to dock in Portland, Maine, this season may have norovirus. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 27 percent of the passengers aboard the Balmoral, operated by Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, have gotten sick since the cruise began April 16.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines

The CDC reports that 252 of the 919 passengers on the Balmoral have fallen ill, as well as eight crew members.

Symptoms of norovirus include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The CDC says the ship has increased its cleaning and disinfection procedures. Two CDC health officers and an epidemiologist boarded the ship during its stop in Baltimore, Maryland, last week. The stepped-up procedures include:

  • Increased cleaning and disinfection procedures according to their outbreak prevention and response plan,
  • Collection of stool specimens from passenger and crew gastrointestinal illness cases for testing,
  • Multiple daily reports of gastrointestinal illness cases to the Vessel Sanitation Program.
  • Public health and sanitation manager sent from the cruise line corporate office to oversee and assist with implementation of the sanitation and outbreak response procedures.

Specimens were collected and tested onboard using a norovirus rapid test. Results were positive for norovirus. The specimens have been sent to CDC for additional testing.