Thousands of passengers travelling on a British cruise ship could be refused entry into the U.S. after an outbreak of a winter vomiting bug.
The Queen Victoria will not be allowed to dock if the virus reaches an epidemic rate, where 15 per cent of those onboard are affected, authorities warn.
So far, 30 people have been confined to their cabins.
The captain of the Queen Victoria cruise ship has ordered a major cleaning operation after an outbreak of a vomiting bug
The ship's captain has ordered a major cleaning operation of handrails, dining rooms and other public areas in a bid to protect the remaining 2,000 or so passengers and crew.The 90,000-tonne ship, the second largest ever built by Cunard, is due to arrive at New York on Tuesday before travelling to the Caribbean for a two-week tour. It left Southampton on Monday.
A spokesman for New York's City Economic Development Corporation, which is in charge of passenger arrivals, said it was monitoring the situation. One passenger said: 'It's actually very worrying here at the moment. We've saved up a lot of money for this cruise and now we're scared to leave our cabins in case we come down with the illness.
'When the message came around that we might not be able to dock in New York our hearts sank as my wife and I have never been there and that was going to be the highlight of the trip. 'We're keen dancers, but we haven't even done that yet as that's the place where you're most likely to catch it.'
The Queen Victoria is the second largest ship ever built by Cunard and weighs 90,000 tonnes. It has seven restaurants, 13 bars, three swimming pools, a ballroom and a theatre.A spokesman for Cunard Line said: 'We can confirm that there have been a small number of reported cases of viral gastroenteritis among the passengers and crew on board Queen Victoria during her current transatlantic crossing to New York.'The clinical symptoms are consistent with Norovirus, a mild but very common and highly contagious gastrointestinal virus, which is easily passed from person to person and this has been confirmed by sample analysis.'
It is the latest luxury cruise liner to by sickness in a matter of weeks.A total of 519 passengers fell ill with norovirus during three cruises on the Boudicca, despite its owners insisting the ship was free from the virus.Fred Olsen Cruise Lines said the vessel had been deep-cleaned twice following the outbreaks, but the virus has also returned to plague passengers at least twice..