Royal Carribean cruise leaves 600 people ill

The Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas is due back in a New Jersey port after its 10-day voyage was cut short when more than 600 passengers and crew fell ill, many vomiting and using biohazard bags for anything they touch.

The updated sick count aboard the Explorer of the Seas, which cut short its Caribbean cruise and was expected to dock in New Jersey on Wednesday, is more than double the 300 originally thought to have been felled by gastrointestinal illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Among those sick with vomiting and diarrhea were some of the onboard entertainers, which caused shows to be cancelled, passengers said.

Altogether, 595 passengers and 50 crew members fell ill aboard the ship, said CDC spokeswoman Bernadette Burden. The ship was carrying 3,050 passengers and a crew of 1,165. The cruise line said it believes the illnesses are consistent with norovirus, a highly contagious virus spread from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces, according to the CDC.