Cruise ship ‘is hit with CHOLERA outbreak’: Thousands of passengers stuck in quarantine ‘misery’ on illness-hit Norwegian Dawn liner ‘floating aimlessly’ off Africa after vessel was barred from docking on Mauritius

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Are you on board Norwegian Dawn? Email elena.salvoni@mailonline.co.uk 

A cruise ship has been barred from docking in Mauritius after a possible cholera outbreak on board, with passengers fearing they could face days of quarantine.

British holidaymakers are among 2,200 passengers on board the Norwegian Dawn, which guests said has been ‘aimlessly floating’ since it was blocked by Mauritian authorities ‘to avoid any health risks’.

Around the same number of tourists have been unable to board the vessel, and were forced to queue at the port before being put up in hotels when it became clear the ship could not dock.

The 12-day cruise had sailed from South Africa via Mozambique, and had been scheduled to dock in Port Louis on Sunday, but arrived a day earlier after missing out a stop at Reunion Island. 

One Brit, who had been due to start his cruise over the weekend, said that he has tried to cancel his trip and is considering getting expensive flights back to the UK as he is ‘scared to get on a contaminated ship’.

‘[I am] not on the ship but waiting to get on and not wanting to… it has been complete chaos onshore,’ he told MailOnline, saying he had received no updates and that the situation was a ‘complete shambles’.

Passengers have been left stranded on the ship after Mauritian authorities refused to let it dock ‘to avoid any health risks’

Around the same number of tourists have been unable to board the vessel, and were forced to queue at the port before being put up in hotels

Around the same number of tourists have been unable to board the vessel, and were forced to queue at the port before being put up in hotels

Holidaymakers pictured queuing at the port on Sunday. The ship was not allowed to dock on Saturday and cruise customers were put up in hotels

Holidaymakers pictured queuing at the port on Sunday. The ship was not allowed to dock on Saturday and cruise customers were put up in hotels

Dutch holidaymaker Esther Verdaas with her husband and daughters

Dutch holidaymaker Esther Verdaas with her husband and daughters

The 12-day cruise had sailed from South Africa via Mozambique, and had been scheduled to dock in Port Louis on Sunday. It is now off the coast of Mauritius

The 12-day cruise had sailed from South Africa via Mozambique, and had been scheduled to dock in Port Louis on Sunday. It is now off the coast of Mauritius

The 59-year-old tourist said his partner ‘is now refusing to get on the ship regardless of what happens’ and said they are looking at £1,600 flights home.

He said that this would mean they would lose any possible refund on the trip, but that they are keen to get home regardless.

The ship has a crew of around 1,000, and of the more than 3,000 on board at least 15 people – 14 passengers and one crew member – are said to be in isolation with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea.

A tanker vessel has been pictured near the ship by a passenger on board as it remains off the Mauritian coastline.

A group of journalists had been due to embark on a press trip on the vessel on Sunday before they heard that there was suspected cholera on board, USA Today reports.

A mother-of-two on the ship told Dutch newspaper BN DeStem that passengers had been told that there could be cholera on board, and that they could face up to ten days in quarantine if it is confirmed. 

‘You can imagine that the atmosphere among the passengers is not pleasant,’ Dutch holidaymaker Esther Verdaas said.

‘Flights are being missed, people have lost money on hotels booked in Mauritius. Guests are angry, rebellious, sad. These are luxury problems, of course. But what I find difficult is that so much is unclear. Can we go home? When? How? Where do we get tickets?’

Norwegian Dawn, which has some 2,200 passengers and 1,000 crew on board, has been floating off the coast after Mauritian authorities decided to block it 'to avoid any health risks' (file image)

Norwegian Dawn, which has some 2,200 passengers and 1,000 crew on board, has been floating off the coast after Mauritian authorities decided to block it ‘to avoid any health risks’ (file image)

Ms Verdaas explained that ‘the misery started’ when they had been due to dock at Réunion on Saturday, but were refused by the authorities there.

‘That meant a long extra day of aimless floating on the open sea,’ said the tourist, who is travelling with her husband and their two daughters.

‘The decision not to allow the cruise ship access to the quay was taken in order to avoid any health risks,’ the Mauritius Ports Authority said.

‘The health and safety of passengers as well as that of the country as a whole are of the utmost to the authorities,’ it added, without giving any details about the nature of the health risk.

The view from the ship off the coast of Mauritius, shared by a passenger on board

The view from the ship off the coast of Mauritius, shared by a passenger on board

A spokesperson for the U.S.-headquartered Norwegian Cruise Line said in a statement that during the ship’s trip to South Africa on February 13, some passengers had experienced mild symptoms of a stomach-related illness.

Once in Port Louis, the ship’s management worked with Mauritian authorities to make sure precautions were in place and all on board were okay, the spokesperson said.

The Norwegian Dawn's planned itinerary. It had been due to travel from South Africa to Mauritius

The Norwegian Dawn’s planned itinerary. It had been due to travel from South Africa to Mauritius

The port authority said its test results would be known in 48 hours.

The ship has 2,184 passengers and 1,026 crew members. Of these, about 2,000 passengers would have disembarked in Port Louis after completing their cruise while another 2,279 new passengers had been expected to board the ship, the port authority said.

‘Passengers who were due to board the ‘Norwegian Dawn’ and begin their cruise from Mauritius today will not be able to do so due to potential health risks,’ it said.

Those who were disembarking or joining the cruise will now do so on Feb. 27, the Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson said.

MailOnline has contacted Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd for comment.

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