Cruise Ship Breaks Two-Decade Record for Most Passengers Sickened

Royal Caribbean finally returns home to Bayonne, N.J., with one of the worst outbreaks of sickness.
3:00 | 01/29/14

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Transcript for Cruise Ship Breaks Two-Decade Record for Most Passengers Sickened
Anticipate there is a new twist in that story we've been following of the cruise ship infebruaried with a lightning fast virus. Hups of passengers stricken. Tonight the CDC is calling it the worst outbreak on a cruise ship in 20 years and the ship is finally back at port but in a puzzling move the company is now saying it will sail again this week. ABC's linsey Davis is back on the story tonight. Reporter: What was supposed to be a ten-day cruise to paradise returned to New Jersey today. Passengers walked out with their luggage, hoping that's all they brought home with them. Nearly 700 people got sick on board, likely infected by the highly contagious norovirus. Really bad. Yeah, it was -- I mean, you've never felt pain until you get this. It was violent for about 24 hours. Reporter: Some passengers described five and six-hour waits to get into the infirmary. One person was taken off the ship in a stretcher and then taken away by ambulance. I thought I was a lovely cruise but, unfortunately, the virus wasn't part of the package I singed up for. Reporter: Which is why the cruise line is offering compensation. 50% off the current cruise and 50% off a future cruise. The next cruise is still on schedule to leave less than 48 hours from now. The cleanup began even before the ship docked. It is fully sanitized before our next guests get on on Friday. The methods that have been so effective in controlling this virus once we understood it was happening. Reporter: Before it can go out again, workers will have to scrub down this entire ship. 15 passenger decks, 14 elevators, more than 1,500 state rooms, three swimming pools, an ice skating rink, even a mini golf course. Do you feel confident that they'll be able to decontaminate the ship within two days? There are actually some very specific guidelines about how ships should be decontaminated after outbreaks of this nature, and I think a cruise line will adhere to those regulations. Reporter: Cruise officials want their up coming guests to know "Explorer of the seas" will be in ship shape by Friday. Linsey Davis, ABC news, new York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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