Passengers: No More Norwalk Problems

Peter Dean
Peter Dean

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Passengers on board a cruise around the world say reports of a Norwalk outbreak are blown out of proportion. Hundreds on board the Queen Elizabeth 2 got the stomach flu shortly after the cruise started in London three weeks ago.

Passengers are now in Honolulu, and happy, healthy, and ready to relax.

"Looking forward to it," said Fred Kaempfer, talking about his visit to the islands.

Many of these passengers boarded the QE2 in New York or San Francisco -- before the Norwalk outbreak.

They say the cruise company warned them that there was a problem, and it was being handled.

"I got on with the confidence that they would have it sorted out and they have not disappointed," said Peter Dean. "They've been on top of it."

More than 300 passengers and crew members were diagnosed with the Norovirus. That's about 17-percent of the 16-hundred people on board. Health officials say that is an unusually high number.

Health inspectors boarded the ship in ports on the east and west coast. And crewmembers are working hard to keep the ship, and her passengers, clean.

"They require us to sanitize our hands before our meals, and before we enter the ship," said Don Orne. "The crew is constantly sanitizing handrails and doorknobs and anything that people would touch."

"I got the cleanest hands in town," joked Kaempfer.

"We may get the sniffles along the way, people coughing and so on, but that's to be expected, but nothing serious," said Orne.

So passengers can get back to doing what they're supposed to be doing.

"An enjoyable time," said Dean. "It's certainly looking so far anyway."

"We're just going to go around the world," said Kaempfer. "I don't know how much you have to be to be a traveller, but we're trying hard."

The QE2 leaves Honolulu Sunday night, heading to Lahaina.

The 106-day cruise makes numerous stops in the US, Tahiti, southeast Asia, and back to London.