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Cruise passengers have vacations cut short due to illness outbreak

More than 3,000 cruise passengers will have their dream vacations cut short due to a second consecutive outbreak of gastrointestinal illness on board the Crown Princess cruise ship.

Princess Cruises on Tuesday ordered the ship back to Port Everglades for special cleansing, ending its voyage two days early. Passengers will miss port calls in Aruba and Curacao. They will get full refunds and other relief.

Back-to-back illness outbreaks are relatively rare. The last one involved two May 2011 sailings to Alaska aboard the Sea Princess ship, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

It's the third outbreak to hit a Princess ship in recent days.

The recent spate of outbreaks could spook some potential cruise passengers, especially those with disabilities, the elderly and first timers, Fort Lauderdale travel agent Sandra Cline said.

"People may be frightened to go on Princess' ships," said Cline, owner of Palm Beach County Cruise & Travel, although seasoned and younger cruisers won't be fazed.

At iCruise.com in Delray Beach, agents have started to get inquiries about the virus and there's been a slight shift in business to other premium cruise lines, specifically Celebrity Cruises' Solstice ships, Co-President Don Walker said.

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