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The Explorer of the Seas passes the Verrazano Bridge as it heads to port in Bayonne, N.J., on Wednesday.

Relief was in sight Wednesday for almost 600 Royal Caribbean cruise ship passengers struck down by a fast-moving gut bug, as their vessel headed towards port in New Jersey, officials said.

A 10-day cruise on The Explorer of the Seas was cut short after suspected norovirus left passengers and workers stricken with vomiting and diarrhea.

Passengers look out from the Explorer of the Seas cruise ship as it returns to port.John Makely / NBC News