Hundreds of passengers on one of the largest cruise liners in the world have been infected with norovirus.

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas has had to return to Florida a day early after the outbreak.

It is said at least 167 passengers, some thought to be British, have been struck down with the vile infection.

They complained of vomiting and diarrhoea, typical symptoms of the stomach bug which had ruined Christmas for many British families.  

So just as the 18-storey high vessel arrived at Falmouth, Jamaica, bosses decided it must end the cruise early.

It was amid a seven-long journey around the sunshine hotspots of the Caribbean.

Owen Torres, a spokesman for Royal Caribbean, told FLORIDA TODAY the outbreak happened on Wednesday.

Oasis of the Seas was introduced in 2009

“As of today, 167 cases of gastrointestinal illness have been reported since Sunday, representing two percent of the nearly 9,000 guests and crew on board.

“Those affected by the short-lived illness are being treated by our ship’s medical team with over-the-counter medication

“Meanwhile, we are bringing additional medical staff on board and we’re engaging in intensive sanitary procedures to minimize the risk of any further issues,” he added.

The ship can accommodate 9,000 people.

Alan Thomas, one of the passengers, tweeted: “Now announcing about 170 people sick with Norovirus.

“Jamaican government says no way anyone disembarks. Refunding one day of cruise credit, departing early for Cozumel.”

In May last year, Oasis of the Seas received a “satisfactory” score of 93 in a Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) inspection.

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