Illness Outbreaks on Cruise Ships in 2018

Each year, many individuals, couples, and families choose to take cruises. Some sale around to Alaska, the Mediterrean, or from Miami to Mexico. They all expect to have a fun vacation, free from accidents or illness. However, plans can go awry. Cruise ships must store and prepare immense amounts of food to feed thousands of people. If sanitation practices are not adhered to, food and water can become contaminated. So too can other cruise ship facilities. This can lead to an outbreak on the ship. In 2018, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported five cruise ships experienced illness outbreaks. One was called by E. coli, another by norovirus and Campylobacter. The cause of three other outbreaks are unknown.

If you or a loved one became seriously ill on a cruise ship and you believe it was because of contaminated food or poor sanitation practices, call an experienced Miami cruise ship attorney from Gerson & Schwartz P.A. at (877) 475-2905.

2018 Cruise Ship Outbreaks

Beginning in January, cruise ship illness outbreaks include:

  • Island Princess of Princess Cruises. Between January 9 and 24, 71 passengers and 7 crew members reported being ill. The predominant symptom was diarrhea. The CDC found the causative agent was norovirus and Campylobacter.
  • Azamara Quest of Azamara Club Cruises. Between January 25 and February 8, 20 passengers and 2 crew members reported being ill with vomiting and diarrhea. The cause of the outbreak is unknown.
  • Queen Victoria of Cunard Line. Between February 21 and March 9, 80 passengers and 10 crew members reported experiencing diarrhea. The CDC found the cause of the outbreak was enterotoxigenic E. coli.
  • Celebrity Infinity of Celebrity Cruises. Between April 17 and May 2, 111 passengers and 7 crew members reported vomiting and diarrhea. The causative agent is unknown.
  • Silver Shadow of Silversea Cruises. Between May 10 and 24, 28 passengers and 8 crew members reported being ill with vomiting and diarrhea. The CDC reports the causative agent is currently unknown.

Enterotoxigenic E. coli

This form of E. coli is the leading cause if diarrhea while traveling. It is a bacteria that produces toxins that stimulate the intestinal lining. These toxins cause them to secrete extra fluid, which leads to diarrhea. Other symptoms can include abdominal cramping, muscle aches, bloating, loss of appetite, fever, chills, and headache.

  1. Coli is easily and quickly transmitting among people through contaminated food and water. The illness usually presents itself within one to three days of exposure. For more healthy adults and children, the illness lasts three or four days, though it may take longer to fully recover. Most healthy individuals recover with little-to-no treatment.


This bacteria is the top cause of bacterial diarrhea in the U.S., according to the CDC. It causes about 1.3 million illnesses in the U.S. each year. Symptoms are similar to those of E. coli, including abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills. The illness typically presents itself within two to five days after being exposed to contaminated food or liquids and symptoms persist for about one week.

Healthy adults and children typically fully recover. However, like with E. coli, children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems may require medical attention. In rare cases, Campylobacter can be deadly for people with certain blood disorders, AIDS, or are undergoing chemotherapy.


While E. coli and Campylobacter are bacterial causes of diarrhea, norovirus is a virus, which can lead to stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It also spreads through contaminated food and water. The food could be contaminated from the source or it may become contaminated through poor sanitation practices.

Did You Become Sick on a Cruise Ship?

If you or a loved one became sick on a cruise ship and required serious medical treatment or hospitalization, contact a Miami cruise ship lawyer at Gerson & Schwartz P.A. immediately. You can reach our Miami-Dade County office at (305) 371-6000. We will thoroughly investigate your situation and advise you on whether you have a valid and strong claim against the cruise line. If so, we can represent you in pursuing compensation for your injuries.









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