Nightly News   |  January 26, 2014

Cruise Ship Virus Outbreak Sickens 300

The CDC plans to board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in the Virgin Islands to investigate the spread of a contagious norovirus.

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>>> a stomach turning experience for hundreds of people aboard a cruise ship . today, the explorer of the seas was in st. thomas and the u.s. virgin islands where the officials from the centers of disease control were looking into the outbreak of a highly contagious stomach virus . more tonight from gabe gutierrez gutierrez .

>> reporter: today, health officials from the centers for disease control boarded a cruise ship , struggling to contain a norovirus outbreak.

>> i was one of them.

>> she was one of them.

>> it was awful.

>> reporter: vomiting and diarrhea symptoms.

>> it was a terrible experience. i've been on this boat before. we had an amazing time when we were here. this time, it's just been awful.

>> reporter: after departing new jersey on tuesday, the ship bypassed a planned stop in haiti friday to be san advertised in puerto rico before moving on to st. thomas . sao panto, the mayor of eastern pennsylvania is on board, vacationing with his wife. he is not sick, but says other passengers have been quarantined in their rooms.

>> lot of activity with cleaning and san advertising the various railings and elevator shafts.

>> reporter: norovirus is a fast-moving stomach bug. each year, the cdc says it sickens 21 million people in the u.s. and kills up to 800. just this month, dozens of travelers got sick on another royal caribbean cruise.

>> norovirus can spread very readily from person to person. when you have people confined, the spread can be quick and explosive.

>> reporter: royal caribbean says sick passengers were responding well to over-the-counter medications. we sincerely apologize for this disruption to our guests' cruise vacation.

>> hopefully, we'll have a good ride going back.

>> reporter: tonight the explorer of the seas is scheduled to leave st. thomas , on its way to st . maarten as health officials try to get rid of an unwelcomed guest. gabe gutierrez , nbc news, atlanta.