UPDATE II: via Twitter:
— Stewart Chiron (@CruiseGuy) January 31, 2014
UPDATE: Here is Princess Cruises response on the early arrival back in Houston. To be fair, the fog in Houston can get quite bad. Houston and Galveston can also have completely different weather patterns too:
Caribbean Princess is being forced to return to Houston one day early because we were informed that dense fog is expected to close the port for much of the weekend, and we are mindful of our passengers’ safety and comfort, as well as the disruption the port’s closing will have on their onward travel plans. This has, unfortunately, necessitated the cancellation of the scheduled call to Belize. The seven-day cruise, which departed January 25, is sailing on a Western Caribbean itinerary, also calling at Cozumel and Roatan.
We truly regret having to make this change to our passengers’ vacations, and we hope they understand that we did not have any choice but to return to Houston early before the unusually heavy fog closes the port.
Passengers will now disembark and proceed through the standard Customs and Immigration clearance that occurs at U.S. turnaround ports on Friday, January 31. Passengers with scheduled air flights from Houston will be accommodated overnight at local hotels by Princess, and they will receive a future cruise credit of 20% of their fare, as well as one day per diem to help offset any ancillary expenses such as meals.
Simultaneously, onboard the current sailing, Caribbean Princess has experienced an increase in the number of cases of gastroenteritis among passengers, which has been confirmed to be norovirus, a common but contagious illness which is widely circulating throughout North America. Because of the increased sensitivity surrounding norovirus by both cruise lines and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in this winter season, we notified the CDC who will be boarding on Friday to ensure all appropriate measures are followed for an extensive sanitation of the ship prior to the next cruise departing February 1. Approximately five passengers have current active symptoms of norovirus, and over the course of the cruise 165 passengers reported ill to the medical center.
A total of 3,104 passengers and 1,149 crew members are on board.
UPDATE: Here is the CDC’s report filed about the Caribbean Princess. Right now its being reported that 162 of 3102 (5.22%) passengers and 11 of 1148 (0.96%) crew.
Originally Published on: Jan 30, 2014 @ 21:46
Local news outlets in Texas are reporting that the Caribbean Princess has just arrived back in Houston 2 days early. The cause; about 165 sick passengers with norovirus. Just like the Explorer of the Seas earlier in the week, Princess Cruises decided to send the ship back home early to sanitize the ship and get her ready for her next cruise. While the numbers on this one outbreak may not be as high as the Explorer, since the Royal Caribbean ship is fresh on everyone’s mind, this will get more air time in the news.
Officials from the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program will board the ship fridar morning to investigate and oversee the cleaning of the vessel.
Here’s a live view from her webcam: