Norovirus on board: There was an outbreak of the gastrointestinal pathogen on a ferry operated by the Color Line shipping company, which made more than 120 people sick. A spokesman for the company confirmed this to stern. The ship “Color Fantasy”, which travels between Kiel and the Norwegian capital Oslo, was therefore temporarily taken out of service.

The ferry crossing from Oslo to Kiel on Sunday was canceled. The trip from Kiel to Oslo on Monday was also canceled. However, operations on the “Color Fantasy” were scheduled to resume on Tuesday.

According to the company spokesman, the illnesses occurred on board the “Color Fantasy” between Wednesday and Sunday. When the ship docked in Oslo on Friday, about 30 people showed gastrointestinal symptoms. When we arrived in Oslo again on Sunday there were already more than 70 cases. Almost 30 cases were registered among the crew, although some employees have already recovered. Passengers were informed about the outbreak of the disease via text message, media reported.

According to the company, the number of passengers on the affected trips fluctuated between 1,400 and 1,700 guests. There were 280 crew members on board each.

In Oslo, the ship was thoroughly cleaned “from top to bottom,” the spokesman said. In addition, samples were taken on board to identify the pathogen. On Monday afternoon it was confirmed that it was norovirus. How the virus got on board is still unclear. Passengers are now being informed about hand hygiene to prevent further outbreaks.

A passenger who was traveling on the ferry with her family told the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten about her experiences on board. On the return journey on Saturday she noticed that there were fewer staff available and everything was going a little slower. Suddenly her eleven-year-old daughter developed a severe headache and stomach ache. “Then it went ‘bang’ and it came from both sides.” It didn’t take long until two other children and herself showed symptoms.

The eleven-year-old was in such bad condition that she had to be carried off board. “I have four children and a lot of experience with motion sickness, norovirus and food poisoning. This is the worst version we have experienced so far,” the mother told Aftenposten.

Another traveler told Norwegian newspaper VG that she had a stomach ache and vomited after arriving on Friday: “I’ve never been so sick. You feel like you’re dying.”

Color Line supported passengers affected by the canceled sailings on Sunday and Monday to rebook or refund their money, the spokesman told the star. A group of more than 100 travelers who were stranded in Norway had been rebooked on flights to Hamburg, he said. Passengers with cars had the option of taking another ferry to Denmark. There was also the option of rebooking to the “Color Magic”, which serves the same route.

However, some passengers criticized the shipping company’s late communication and the fact that the “Color Fantasy” left despite the first signs of an outbreak of illness. One affected passenger told Aftenposten: “I don’t think it was wise to set off with this crew on Friday when they knew there was seasickness on board.” Only after departure did he and his travel group receive a text message from the shipping company informing them of “stomach problems” on the last crossing. Another affected person told “VG” that they were only informed when they had already disembarked.

Noroviruses are highly contagious pathogens that cause gastrointestinal diseases. Infected people excrete the viruses in stool or vomit. Larger outbreaks often occur in places where many people come together, such as daycare centers, schools, retirement homes or ships. Norovirus infections occur more frequently in autumn and winter.

Infected people often suddenly suffer from severe diarrhea, nausea and severe vomiting. Abdominal and muscle pain are common, as are occasional fever and headaches. The symptoms usually subside after one or two days.

Infection usually occurs from person to person through smear infection, for example from stool residue on the hands. Small droplets produced when vomiting are also very contagious. Transmission can also occur via raw food or contaminated water. To avoid infection, it is necessary to wash your hands thoroughly, especially after each use of the toilet.

Sources: press release Color Line (1), press release Color Line (2), “Aftenposten” (1), “Aftenposten” (2), “VG”,