Mass. Couple Among Hundreds Sickened by Norovirus on Cruise Ship

The ship left Port Canaveral on Florida's Atlantic Coast on Sunday

A Massachusetts couple was among the hundreds of people sickened on a cruise ship after a Norovirus outbreak.

Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas headed back for a Florida port a day early, with passengers receiving full refunds, after hundreds of guests and crew members were hit with the illness as the ship sailed to Jamaica. Thursday, officials said 277 people had been sickened, but by Friday, that number had climbed to 475.

Cody Haddad of Taunton is relieved the trip is ending early.

"With the circumstances, I'm glad at this point. I just want to get off this ship," Haddad told NBC10 Boston Thursday.

For Haddad and his girlfriend, the trip started out great. But Tuesday night, people on the ship started getting sick.

By Wednesday, even more people were ill, including the couple.

"It's been awful," Haddad said. "I've just been staying in the room, because I don't want to go out. There is a lot of sick people out there."

Cruise line spokesman Owen Torres told The Associated Press "we think the right thing to do is get everyone home early rather than have guests worry about their health."

He said the ship would return to Port Canaveral on Saturday. It sailed from there Sunday on a seven-day Caribbean cruise.

Passengers took to social media on Wednesday, tweeting they were forced to stay onboard after docking in Falmouth, Jamaica, for what was supposed to be a day of excursions.

Torres says returning a day early gives the cruise line "more time to completely clean and sanitize the ship" before it sails again.

Haddad's mother, Robin, also just wants her son to get home.

"Worried sick. I'm worried sick about him," Robin Haddad said. "There is nothing I can do, you can't check on him, you can't call him, it's horrible."

"The fact we are in the middle of the ocean and this is occurring is just a scary thing," Cody Haddad said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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