Source AP ©

Over 220 Norwegian ship passengers go down with stomach flu

About 220 passengers of Norwegian Cruise Lines ship went down with highly contagious stomach flu. The ship returned to Honolulu after a week-long cruise.

Lab tests confirmed a norovirus - which causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea - aboard the Pride of Hawaii, said Janice Okubo, spokeswoman for the Hawaii Department of Health.

"It's one of the common viruses we've been seeing on cruise lines," Okubo said. "Most of the time, people recover."

The Norwalk-like virus infected about 9 percent of the ship's 2,500 passengers, NCL said. Virus symptoms typically last a day.

No passengers were hospitalized as a result of the illness, NCL said.

Passengers who felt sick, as well as their cabinmates, were asked to remain in their rooms for 24 hours. Norwegian said it was giving those passengers a $200 ( EUR 137) on-ship credit.

The company said in a statement that the ship "has been carrying out an extensive range of preventive measures on board and does not expect this issue to carry forward into the next cruise."

Chemicals approved by the government were used to rigorously clean surfaces - chlorine dilution for all hard surfaces and Virkon to clean fabrics, the company said. The ship was on schedule to depart on its next interisland cruise Monday evening.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating, Okubo said.

Norwegian describes Pride of Hawaii as the largest and most expensive U.S.-flagged cruise ship ever built. It began service last year.

Norwegian was acquired in February 2000 by Star Cruises PLC of Malaysia , according to the cruise line's Web site.

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