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At almost the same time that the Carnival Glory earned a perfect sanitation score, Princess Cruise Line’s Sea Princess dealt with a its fourth norovirus outbreak in just seven weeks. This outbreak was the last straw for Princess Cruise Line’s officials who conducted a “prolonged and intensive cleaning” prior to the ship’s 10-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska.

The norovirus saga began during a 10-day cruise that left San Francisco on May 10, 2011. During that cruise, 44 of the 2,049 passengers reported they became ill on the ship (about 2.15% of passengers). On the next Sea Princess cruise beginning on May 20, 2011, over 6% of the passengers, 128 out of 2,053, came down with norovirus. The third voyage, which left port on May 30, 2011, had just slightly a greater percentage of passengers, about 6.67% or 142 out of 2,128, infected. The last voyage infected left the Port of San Francisco on June 19, 2011 and reported 53 of its 2,196 passengers (about 2.4%) were affected by the virus.

The percentage of passengers is important because the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) only announce an outbreak alert if at least 3 percent of passengers and crew are infected with the virus. This would mean that only the two middle voyages were investigated as an official outbreak.

After the last outbreak, CDC employee, Captain Jaret Ames, travelled to San Francisco to investigate the Sea Princess himself.

"We did have some specific review we did in the areas of housekeeping and actual disinfection of cabins because we felt there were some cabins that repeated as cabins that had ill people in them and we wanted to make sure the disinfection in those cabins was done completely," Ames said.

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