Norovirus strikes 3rd American cruise ship

One of two Princess cruise ships that had to undergo a complete disinfection when passengers and crew were hit with the norovirus has already embarked on its next cruise.

A stomach virus has stricken people on a third American cruise ship.

Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Sea left a couple of hours late on Saturday because of the norovirus outbreak, Port of New Orleans spokesman Chris Bonura said Sunday.

About 200 passengers became ill with the gastrointestinal illness, which causes vomiting and diarrhea. The company did not immediately return a call and email seeking further details.

Earlier in the weekend, two Princess cruise ships were forced to undergo a complete disinfection at their home port of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after dozens of passengers and crew fell ill.

The Crown Princess has already headed back to sea. About 158 people were infected by the virus on that ship.

In a statement issued Sunday, Princess Cruises, a unit of Carnival, said the Ruby Princess, which had set sail for the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 29 had returned to port for a sanitizing process after 90 passengers and 13 crew were struck with the highly contagious virus.

Vacation-goers were told their cruise would be delayed a few hours while the ship was being cleaned.

Norovirus, which usually lasts from one to three days, can be debilitating for the very young, the very old and those with weakened immune systems. It is easily spread through contact with infected people, items they touch, such as food in buffets, and human waste.