Last updated: 01:22 PM ET, Wed June 17 2015

British Line Cancels Cruise Due to Norovirus Outbreak

Impacting Travel | Theresa Norton | June 17, 2015

British Line Cancels Cruise Due to Norovirus Outbreak

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has cancelled the Balmoral’s June 20 cruise from Southampton, England, so it can clean and sanitize the ship after a norovirus outbreak.

Olsen said canceling the three-night “Belgium & France Mini-Cruise” will “give the ship a clear ‘fire break,’ when the virus cannot pass from human-to-human contact, thereby providing the greatest opportunity for the virus to be removed from any surfaces.”

Guests booked on the canceled cruise can get a full refund or transfer to a selection of alternative sailings this year, which a number of guests have done.

In a statement, Olsen noted the “high incidence” of the gastrointestinal illness, norovirus, in the U.K. over the past few weeks. “Sadly this has meant some guests have brought this virus onto the ship,” the company said. “Norovirus is a very common virus, second only to the common cold, and affects over 265 million people annually, as well as many hospitals. The virus has been very prevalent in the U.K. this year, and is spread very easily by contact with surfaces and from person-to-person, especially within ‘closed’ communities. According to Public Health England, a total of 69 wards/bays were closed in English hospitals due to norovirus from April 27 to 31st May 31.”

Fred Olsen operates four ships and primarily markets to British travelers.

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