More than 300 fall ill on Royal Caribbean cruise ship

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - More than 300 passengers and crew members fell ill aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, many with vomiting and diarrhea, the US Centers for Disease Control said.

The CDC said in a statement on Sunday that 281 passengers and 22 crew members aboard the Explorer of the Seas reported becoming sick during a voyage. The ship was carrying 3,050 passengers and a crew of 1,165.

The ship was on a Caribbean cruise after departing New Jersey on Jan. 21, the Miami Herald reported.

The CDC said the cause of the sickness was unknown but that an environmental safety officer and an epidemiologist would board the ship in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands to determine the cause of the outbreak and the proper response.

The ship's crew increased cleaning and disinfection procedures and had collected specimens from those who reported being ill following the outbreak, the CDC said.

Media representatives for Royal Caribbean could not immediately be reached for comment on Sunday afternoon.