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Possible Norovirus Reported On Board Baltimore-Based Cruise Ship

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Cruise passengers on the Baltimore-based Grandeur of the Seas get more than they bargain for on their Bahamas vacation.

More than 100 people get sick, and the cruise line believes the dreaded norovirus is to blame.

Linh Bui has the unpleasant details.

Some 117 people on board the Baltimore-based Royal Caribbean ship Grandeur of the Seas are sick with a gastrointestinal illness.

WJZ has learned 99 guests and 8 crew members fell ill during a week-long cruise from Baltimore to the Bahamas.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, it will have a team ready to meet the ship when it comes into its home port Saturday morning.

"We'll be working with both the medical teams, as well as the crew on board the vessel and the cruise line, with doing follow ups," said Bernadette Burden, CDC spokesperson. "Really taking a look at their cleaning, sanitation and hygiene practices that are being employed on the ship to interrupt the spread of disease."

Royal Caribbean believes norovirus is the culprit. They've been treating passengers with over-the-counter medications on board the ship.

Doctors say norovirus is common and highly contagious.

"We have so many people together in a closed environment, eating in the same place. That's why you see it," said Dr. Catherine Troisi, UT School of Public Health.

And with symptoms like nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, it's not how most people want to spend a vacation.

Travel agent Angela Epps tells WJZ it's a big worry for vacationers getting ready to board a Baltimore cruise.

"And it doesn't have to happen on the Grandeur, it can happen anywhere," she said. "We go to foreign countries, things happen and you can't walk around in a bubble. If it's going to happen, it can happen anywhere."

Royal Caribbean says it's been using special cleaning products and disinfectants since the outbreak began this week.

After the CDC supervises the ship's cleaning in the morning, Grandeur of the Seas is expected to board its next cruise at 4 p.m.

Royal Caribbean says if any passengers are uncomfortable sailing after the outbreak, they can reschedule their cruise.

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