*File photo
*File photo

Passengers on board a cruise liner that visited Bermuda dozens of times last year have been struck down by a vomiting bug.

The Explorer of the Seas and her 3,300 passengers travelled between the island and Cape Liberty on the east coast of the US a total of 26 times in 2013.

And the Royal Caribbean Lines vessel is expected to return to Bermuda another 28 times in 2014.

But media reports today suggest more than 280 passengers as well as 20 crew members have been struck down by the norovirus.

The Daily Mail reported on Sunday: "Passengers aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship are furious after the vessel was forced to make an emergency stop in Puerto Rico for 'extensive sanitizing' after 300 people aboard come down with a noxious, highly-contagious virus that caused vomiting and diarrhea. 

"After the ship's scrub-down in San Juan, the Explorer of the Seas continued on its ten-day voyage - stopping in the Virgin Islands today with its 3,050 passengers still aboard."

This is the second time in a month that a Royal Caribbean cruise has been derailed by norovirus. On January 18, the Majesty of the Sea was forced to cut its four day voyage from Miami short after 66 passengers fell ill.

A statment released by Royal Caribbean said: "Explorer of the Seas will return home from its 10-day cruise two days early, after an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness that spiked over the weekend.

"New reports of illness have decreased day-over-day, and many guests are again up and about. Nevertheless, the disruptions caused by the early wave of illness means that we were unable to deliver the vacation our guests were expecting.

"After consultation between our medical team and representatives of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we think the right thing to do is to bring our guests home early, and use the extra time to sanitize the ship even more thoroughly.

"We are sorry for disappointing our guests, and we are taking several steps to compensate them for their inconvenience."