British cruise ship docks in US with more than 250 sick passengers on board

Passengers suffering the stomach virus were quarantined in their cabins

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File photo. Image: Chris Ison / PA Archive/Press Association Images

A British cruise ship has docked in the US with more than 250 passengers on board sick with norovirus.

The Balmoral was carrying 919 mainly British passengers on a five-week "Old England to New England" cruise from the UK to the US.

It docked in Portland, Maine, on Sunday and passengers suffering the stomach virus were quarantined in their cabins.

Eight members of the 520-strong crew were also reportedly sick with norovirus.

Its symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

The symptoms appear one to two days after you become infected and usually last for up to three days.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the ship owners, Fred Olsen Cruises, had increased cleaning and disinfection procedures on board.

The Balmoral set sail from Southampton on 16 April and is due to return on May 20.

It has now left Portland and is heading for Saint John, in the Canadian province of New Brunswick.

A statement from Fred Olsen Cruises said: "Fred Olsen has been undertaking extensive sanitisation measures and cleaning of the ship, in accordance with its strict illness containment and prevention plan.

"Commonly, the illness abates within one or two days. Those guests who are affected are asked to remain in their rooms during this time – with complimentary room service and in-room entertainment.

"Fred Olsen is co-operating fully with all the necessary maritime agencies and authorities, as Balmoral continues on her cruise, and will continue to make every effort possible to ensure the safety and well-being of all its guests and crew on board, which is of paramount importance."

In May last year the Balmoral was forced to cut short a cruise after a number of passengers fell ill with a stomach bug.