Cruise ship passengers reported sick at Port of L.A. after similar incident 1 week earlier

May 04 2021 05:30 pm

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Several guests aboard a cruise ship at the Port of Los Angeles were evaluated by paramedics Sunday morning for flu-like symptoms — a week after a similar incident led to hospitalizations.

The L.A. Fire Department was dispatched to the luxury ship dubbed the “Norwegian Joy” following an initial call to first responders at 5:10 a.m., when the boat had yet to arrive to the port, according to the department.

Authorities initially said 20 people fell ill but later said just 10 were evaluated for minor medical complaints. Sometime later, fire officials said a total of 19 were evaluated and none of the passengers were taken for hospitalization.

LAFD Battalion Chief Jamie Brown told KTLA the final number of ill passengers dwindled down to nine after first responders treated them at the scene, took a look at their symptoms and spoke with the ship’s surgeon.

No one needed further treatment or hospitalization, Brown said.

“Everything was fine for a couple days and on the 26th, I started getting sick to my stomach, having other symptoms … stayed in the room, didn’t eat for two days,” said Justin Jorgensen, one of the passengers.

Jorgensen said his mother grew ill two days later, on Thanksgiving, and his niece started feeling sick the next day as they watched several other passengers go through the same experience.

That led to certain changes for the sake of better sanitation such as not being able to touch any of the food at the buffet, according to Felicia Edelman, another passenger. “They had to hand everything to us,” she said, adding passengers were also kept from their rooms at one point.

Some of those who fell ill said they were treated poorly as they were isolated and told they could not go to other areas of the ship. The passengers also said they were not given vouchers or any other sort of compensation for the disappointing experience.

Last week, four people were hospitalized and two others were evaluated by paramedics following another report of illnesses aboard the same ship. It had to be sanitized after some guests experienced stomach-related sickness during a 16-day trip to the Panama Canal, according to Norwegian Cruise Line.

“They took all the pillows in the rooms and they were sanitizing those and then when we got off the ship, they had their hazmat suits on and they were sanitizing all the rooms,” said one of the passengers, Judy Lukos.

LAFD officials said the ship will face another heavy cleaning on Sunday in hopes of avoiding another bout of illnesses.

Both incidents involved the Norwegian Joy, a luxury cruise ship operated by Norwegian Cruise Line that travels from the West Coast to Alaska, the Mexican Riviera and the Panama Canal from Miami and L.A. It was built in 2017, refurbished this year and holds up to 3,804 guests.

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