P&O Ventura cruise ship to be deep cleaned at port after norovirus outbreak

Ventura will arrive in Southampton at 6am on Saturday  (Getty Images)
Ventura will arrive in Southampton at 6am on Saturday (Getty Images)

A P&O Cruises ship will be met at port for a deep cleaning following a norovirus outbreak onboard – and future passengers will face departure delays.

Guests on Ventura reported gastrointestinal symptoms during the 14-night cruise around the Canary Islands, including stops in Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.

An unconfirmed number of people with sickness and diarrhoea were asked to isolate in their cabins after embarkation in Southampton on 11 May.

Ventura has a capacity for 3,078 passengers, but under 3,000 are reported to be on board alongside around 1,200 crew members.

According to the cruise line, 0.64 per cent of passengers were symptomatic on Wednesday and those who are still symptomatic on arrival will disembark later than other passengers.

Although an “enhanced sanitation” of the ship was carried out on 17 May in Tenerife, Southampton Port Health Authority said it would assist the vessel once it was back at port.

The cruise ship is due to return to Southampton around 6am on Saturday (25 May), where it will be met with health officials for a “cleaning programme of all spaces onboard”. This includes ‘fogging’ – spraying disinfectant into sealed rooms and specifically targeting bathrooms and food preparation areas.

Ventura will reportedly be without passengers for seven hours on Saturday while commercial cleaners disinfect the ship.

The P&O Cruises vessel is scheduled to set sail for a seven-night cruise around Spain and Portugal later in the day that is expected to be delayed.

Passengers booked on the week-long voyage have been asked to arrive four hours later than planned to make time for sanitation.

A P&O Cruises spokesperson said: “Tomorrow we will be doubling the length of time the ship will be without guests whilst in Southampton port, to allow for a dedicated enhanced cleaning programme of all spaces onboard, including guest cabins, public areas and crew areas.

“These methods are in addition to our already approved, recognised and proven protocols that happen throughout every cruise sailing to uphold the wellbeing of all guests and crew onboard.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 150 passengers on board US cruises ships suffered diarrhoea and vomiting in two separate norovirus outbreaks in April.

The health agency said that 94 of 2,532 passengers on a Princess Cruises ship and 67 of 1,993 passengers onboard a Royal Caribbean ship reported sickness during voyages last month.