GALVESTON A 20-day cruise from Venice, Italy to Galveston turned out to be the trip from hell for dozens of passengers.

Ninety-six passengers and six crew members on the Crown Princessbecame ill with norovirus, the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the developed world. It is highly contagious and causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Karen Candy, a spokesperson for Princess Cruises, said they took extra precautions with sanitation as soon as they noticedan increase in sick passengers.

Our sanitation program has been developed in coordination with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and includes such measures as thorough disinfection of high-touch surfaces like railings, door handles and elevator buttons; encouraging passengers to use correct hand washing procedures and enhancing this with the use of hand sanitizing gels placed throughout the ship, Candy said in a written statement.

The Crown Princess left Venice on December 2 with more than 2600 passengers and is scheduled to arrive in Galveston on Saturday.

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