300 sick aboard Royal Caribbean cruise ship - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

300 sick aboard Royal Caribbean cruise ship

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Health officials from the Centers for Disease Control boarded Royal Caribbean's "Explorer of the Seas" in the U.S. Virgin Islands and scrambled to contain a norovirus outbreak.

"It was awful," said Jennifer Esposito, a passenger who got sick.

More than 300 passengers and crew members reported symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.

"It was a terrible experience. I've been on this boat before. We had an amazing time when we were here. This time it's been awful," said Michael Lamicela, another passenger.

After departing New Jersey on Tuesday, the ship bypassed a planned stop in Haiti Friday to be sanitized in Puerto Rico before moving on to St. Thomas.

Some passengers were quarantined in their rooms.

Norovirus is a fast-moving stomach bug. Each year, the CDC said it sickens 21 million people in the U.S. and kills up to 800.

Just this month, dozens of travelers got sick on another Royal Caribbean cruise.

"Norovirus can spread very readily from person to person, so when you have people confined, the spread can be quick and explosive," said Dr. William Schaffner, Vanderbilt University.

Royal Caribbean said sick passengers are responding well to over-the-counter medications.

"We sincerely apologize for this disruption to our guests' cruise vacation."

The “Explorer of the Seas" ended its 10-day trip Sunday.

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