Norwegian Dawn Cruise Ship Receives Clearance to Dock in Mauritius Post-Cholera Scare

February 27, 2024 / 8:34 AM EST

/ AP

A U.S.-owned luxury cruise ship with more than 3,000 passengers and crew was allowed to dock Monday in the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius after being quarantined offshore for a day over fears of a possible cholera outbreak onboard, authorities said.

The Mauritius government cleared the Norwegian Dawn, which is owned and operated by the Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line company, to dock at the harbor in the capital, Port Louis, after health officials found no traces of cholera in tests conducted on samples from the ship.

Mauritius authorities blocked the ship from docking Sunday because 15 people onboard were experiencing vomiting and diarrhea. The Mauritius Ports Authority said it took the decision “in order to avoid any health risks,” and sent officials onboard to collect the samples for testing.

The government of Mauritius stated that the ill passengers who were quarantined actually had mild instances of the viral infection known as gastroenteritis.

The Norwegian Cruise Line revealed in an announcement that only “a limited number of guests were showing mild symptoms of a stomach-related illness” and that there were “zero confirmed cases or any signs of cholera.”

The government of Mauritius “requested testing as an excess of caution,” it further commented.

A number of countries in the southern part of mainland Africa went through severe cholera outbreaks during the previous year, which might have fuelled worries from the authorities in Mauritius, an island country with around 1.2 million inhabitants located off the eastern shore of Africa, recognized as a favorite spot for tourists.

Cruise ships were problematic during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many of them reporting outbreaks of the disease and having to be quarantined at ports.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says there’s a cholera epidemic in southern Africa, with a total of around 188,000 cases and 3,000 deaths in eight countries since January 2023.

Cholera spreads through food or water contaminated with the bacteria that causes the disease. Health officials were also testing the food on the Norwegian Dawn for cholera. Those tests results hadn’t yet come back, but authorities said they were satisfied that there was no cholera threat after the waste water tests were negative.

There were 2,184 passengers and 1,026 crew members onboard the Norwegian Dawn when it arrived in Mauritius, the ports authority said. Around 2,000 of those passengers were due to disembark in Mauritius and end their cruise and 2,279 new passengers were due to get onboard.

Dr Bhooshun Ori, who is the director of health services at the Mauritius Ministry of Health, stated that all individuals disembarking the ship will undergo a health screening by officials.

According to Norwegian Cruise Line, the passengers are set to disembark from the ship on Tuesday.

The Norwegian Dawn, measuring 964 feet, boasts 14 decks filled with amenities such as a casino, a theater, and a video game arcade among others.

The base cost for a standard cabin in a 12-day cruise starts at $2,000 per person as per the information on the company’s website. A 3-bedroom Garden Villa which comes with exclusive features such as a private garden, a hot tub, an outdoor dining area, and a personalized butler service can be availed at $47,000.

First published on February 27, 2024 / 8:34 AM EST

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