Setting sail from Florida, an American cruise ship has been forced to cut the trip short. The two-week voyage saw many stricken passengers and crew members vomiting and falling ill. Suffering from gastroenteritis, more than 300 people have not been able to enjoy the journey. After sailing to Trinidad and Tobago, the ship was prohibited from docking by the health ministry. Upon returning to the United States, the Caribbean Princess liner has offered passengers refunds and discounts.

The ship departed from the US on February 2 carrying 3,000 passengers and 1,100 crew. Since the departure, 299 passengers and 22 crew succumbed to the stomach bug. On-board medics examined the individuals and determined that they were suffering from gastroenteritis.

The common stomach infection leads to the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Those infected have diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal aches. Patients may even have a fever along with lethargy. The constant excretion and vomiting also leads to dehydration.

It is unknown how so many on-board the ship were infected. While most people suffering from the disease often catch it from contaminated food or water, it can be contagious as well.

While the novel coronavirus is spreading across the globe like wildfire, the Health Ministry of Trinidad & Tobago decided to take precautionary measures. Even though gastroenteritis is curable and only troubles patients for a few days, the cruise ship was denied permission to dock.

The Caribbean Princess has started its long journey back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. According to Princess Cruise Lines Limited, the ship will complete the 1,600-mile journey by Thursday, January 13. Unlike the coronavirus riddled Diamond Princess cruise stuck in Japan, passengers on board the Caribbean Princess will be allowed to return home once the ship returns to the US.

Princess Cruise Lines and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have taken the call to discontinue the cruise. Upon reaching Florida, the ship will resume sailing after three-days, Sky News reported.

Passengers will be given a 50% refund of the cruise fare. They will also get a 50% credit value on a future cruise with the cruise company.

Novel Coronavirus
Asian cruise ships have become a focal point as dozens of cases have been confirmed on a vessel off Japan's coast Photo: AFP / Kazuhiro NOGI