Updated: 01/29/2014 11:20 PM
Created: 01/29/2014 10:25 PM WHEC.com
By: Associated Press
A local couple is on their way home from New Jersey. They were on the cruise ship where hundreds of passengers reported getting sick
Claudia and Tom Ciresi were on board the "Explorer of the Seas," which returned to port Wednesday afternoon.
Health officials believe a Norovirus outbreak is to blame for the illnesses, but they won't know for sure until tests come back.
Wednesday night Claudia Ciresi explained to News10NBC by phone.
“There were a lot of people in the bathroom getting sick and they had hand sanitizers all over, and you were constantly washing your hands. You couldn't go into the dining rooms without having some Purell. They were washing down the railings; they were washing down the seats after you got out from the pool. They were washing anything that came in contact with the passengers,” said Ciresi.
Norovirus is highly contagious. It is sometimes mistaken for a stomach virus and causes bouts of vomiting and diarrhea.
The CDC says its latest count puts the number of people who got sick at 636 passengers and 54 crew members.