The Dawn Princess is operated by Princess Cruises, a division of Miami-based Carnival Corp. The last time there was an outbreak of norovirus on the ship wasin September 2012.
Dr. Alistair Humphrey, the medical officer of health for Canterbury, said health officials conducted tests which confirmed the illness is norovirus. He said the outbreak now appears to be waning.
"Some passengers on Dawn Princess current cruise to New Zealand destinations reported gastrointestinal symptoms confirmed as norovirus, commonly referred to in the community as a 'stomach bug'," a Princess spokesperson said. "It takes relatively few cases to be reported on-board for even more stringent sanitation levels to be implemented."
All affected passengers were isolated in their cabins until they were considered no longer contagious, according to the cruise company. Additionally, crew members disinfected common area surfaces, including railing, door handles and elevator buttons.
Norovirus is a gastrointestinal illness that lasts one to three days. Symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Although cruise ships are known for norovirus outbreaks, the disease is actually rarer on ships than on land.
Carnival Corporation's CEO Arnold Donald said in a November press call the reason for the reputation is that cruise companies are required to report all incidents of the illness to the CDC.