A US-owned luxury cruise ship with more than 3,000 passengers and crew was allowed to dock on Monday in the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius after being quarantined offshore for a day over fears of a possible cholera outbreak on board, authorities said.

The Mauritius government cleared the Norwegian Dawn, which is owned and run by the Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line company, to dock at the harbour in the capital, Port Louis, after health officials found no traces of cholera in tests conducted on the ship’s water.

The Norwegian Dawn, which is owned and run by the Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line company. Photo: The Boston Herald via AP

The Mauritius government said the sick passengers who had been isolated after falling ill in fact had mild cases of the viral infection gastroenteritis.

Norwegian Cruise Line said in a statement that there were “a small number of guests experiencing mild symptoms of a stomach-related illness” and there were “no confirmed cases nor any evidence of cholera.”

The Mauritius government “required testing in an overabundance of caution,” it added.

Cruise ship with 3,000 people aboard in quarantine off Mauritius

Several countries in mainland southern African have experienced serious outbreaks of cholera over the last year, possibly leading to the concern from authorities in Mauritius, an island nation of about 1.2 million people off the east coast of Africa that’s a popular tourist destination.
Cruise ships were problematic during the Covid-19 pandemic, with many of them reporting outbreaks of that disease and having to be quarantined at ports.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says there is a cholera epidemic in southern Africa, with around 188,000 cases and 3,000 deaths in eight countries since January 2023.

Cholera spreads through food or water contaminated with the bacteria that causes it. Health officials were also testing the food on board the Norwegian Dawn for cholera. Those tests results had not yet come back but authorities said they were satisfied that there was no cholera threat after the water tests were negative.

There were 2,184 passengers and 1,026 crew members on board the Norwegian Dawn when it arrived in Mauritius, the ports authority said. Around 2,000 of those passengers were due to disembark in Mauritius and end their cruise and 2,279 new passengers were scheduled to get on board.

Everyone leaving the ship would still be screened by health officials, said Dr Bhooshun Ori, the director of health services at the Mauritius ministry of health.

Norwegian Cruise Line said passengers would now disembark the ship on Tuesday.