Cruise cites fog, but passengers are skeptical

HOUSTON (AP) — Although a spokeswoman for Princess Cruises says a dense fog advisory is the reason a cruise ship returned early to a Houston-area port today, passengers are questioning that version of events.

They say the crew announced on the second day that people were sick, apparently with highly contagious norovirus, and that extra precautions were being taken to ensure that it didn't spread.

More than 160 passengers and crew became sick.

One woman who was on the cruise says the crew announced Tuesday that the ship would return a day early because of a sea fog advisory that could close the Texas port. But she says passengers were skeptical of that explanation.

Earlier this week, a Royal Caribbean cruise returned early to New Jersey after nearly 700 people became ill with the same suspected gastrointestinal illness.

But a Princess Cruises spokeswoman says the situation on board the Caribbean Princess wasn't the same, and that if there hadn't been a potential port shutdown because of the fog, the ship would not have returned early.

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174-q-04-(Sam Bible, cruise ship passenger from Woodville, Texas, with reporters)-"sick or not"-This passenger, Sam Bible, was asked if he was worried on the cruise. (31 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *174 (01/31/14)££ 00:04 "sick or not"

177-a-09-(Robert Fisher, cruise ship passenger from Houston, Texas, with reporters)-"in the room"-Robert Fisher, a cruise ship passenger from Houston, says he recovered quickly, and he's upset that the Princess Cruise's crew kept passengers confined to their cabins. Updated: 01/31/2014-12:50:24 PM ET (31 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *177 (01/31/14)££ 00:09 "in the room"

APPHOTO NY110: FILE - The new Caribbean Princess departs on its maiden voyage from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in this April 3, 2004 file photo. Federal health officials are investigating after an outbreak of illness has caused Caribbean Princess cruise ship to ends its trip early and returned to port in Houston late Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 more than a day ahead of schedule after more than 170 passengers and crew members aboard became sick. (AP Photo/Princess Cruises, Andy Newman, File) (3 Apr 2004)

<<APPHOTO NY110 (04/03/04)££

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