Norovirus outbreak sickens 277 on Oasis of the Seas

FILE - In this 2009, file photo, Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas cruise ship is docked at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The ship is returning to a Florida port a day early and giving passengers full refunds of their fare after 277 guests and crew members were hit with an outbreak of Norovirus as it sailed to Jamaica. The ship is expected to arrive in Port Canaveral on Saturday, Jan. 12. (Josh Ritchie/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File)

MIAMI — Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas is returning to a Florida port a day early and giving passengers full refunds of their fare after 277 guests and crew members were hit with an outbreak of Norovirus as it sailed to Jamaica.

Cruise line spokesman Owen Torres told The Associated Press "we think the right thing to do is get everyone home early rather than have guests worry about their health."

He says the ship will return to Port Canaveral on Saturday. It sailed from there Sunday on a seven-day Caribbean cruise.

Passengers took to social media on Wednesday, tweeting they were forced to stay onboard after docking in Falmouth, Jamaica, for what was supposed to be a day of excursions.

Torres says returning a day early gives the cruise line "more time to completely clean and sanitize the ship" before it sails again.

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