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Cruise ship passengers not allowed off in Mauritius because of fears over cholera

Simon Calder’s Travel

More than 2,000 passengers aboard a cruise ship in the Indian Ocean have been refused permission to disembark in Mauritius for several days because of fears of a cholera outbreak on board.

Norwegian Dawn was due to arrive in the island’s capital, Port Louis, at 7am on Sunday 25 February after a 12-day voyage from Cape Town.

A call at Reunion Island was cancelled and the ship arrived in Mauritius a day early.

The vessel is in the harbour but the 2,184 passengers and 1,026 crew members have been told they cannot leave until Tuesday 27 February, as health officials ascertain the cause of an outbreak of gastric illness on board.

The Mauritius Ports Authority said in a statement: “Officers from the Ministry of Health and Wellbeing this morning took samples from around 15 passengers on board the cruise ship Norwegian Dawn due to a health risk.

“These passengers had been placed in isolation on board the cruise ship due to their state of health.

“The decision not to allow the cruise ship access to the quay was taken in order to avoid any health risks. The health and safety of passengers as well as that of the country as a whole are of the utmost importance to the authorities.”

The World Health Organisation says the current cholera outbreak in southern Africa has recorded more than 300,000 cases since the start of 2020, including 5,811 deaths.

A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line said: “During Norwegian Dawn’s 13 February 2024 South Africa voyage, a small number of guests experienced mild symptoms of a stomach-related illness.

“Upon the ship’s return to Port Louis, Mauritius, the vessel’s management team met with local authorities to confirm precautions and actions were being taken to ensure the wellbeing of all on board.

“Due to additional testing being required by local authorities before being allowed entry, the government of Mauritius has delayed disembarkation for the current cruise and embarkation for the next cruise by two days to 27 February 2024.”

The delayed arrival will play havoc with passengers’ homeward flight plans. One passenger, Rob Hopkins, told The Independent: “Stuck on the Norwegian Dawn cruise ship due to a gastro bug. Ship not allowed to dock into Mauritius since Sunday – another 24 hours at least. Due to fly back to UK Wednesday.”

Assuming the ship is allowed to disembark passengers, Mr…

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