Allentown
72° F
Clear
Clear
 

Easton mayor back home after cruise

By Meghan Packer, Reporter, MPacker@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 29 2014 09:00:08 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 30 2014 05:18:38 AM CST

Easton Mayor Sal Panto is home in the Lehigh Valley after his cruise was cut short because hundreds on board got sick.

EASTON, Pa. -

Easton Mayor Sal Panto is home in the Lehigh Valley after his cruise was cut short because hundreds on board got sick.

Panto said he did not get sick and had a great vacation with his wife and another couple.

They were on board the Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas.

Of the more than 4,000 passengers and crew on board, almost 700 got sick.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that is the highest number of sick people reported on a cruise ship in two decades.

Panto thinks even more people became sick than reported.

The cruise line said the symptoms are consistent with norovirus.

The ship returned to New Jersey Wednesday--two days early.

"I feel great, I really do. I'm recharged, ready to go back to work," Panto told 69 News Wednesday night. "We had a great time, we relaxed, we had a great crew."

"Actually we saw people Tuesday in the terminal before you take the bus to the ship getting sick. They arrived sick," said Panto.

Panto said his experience on the ship was pleasant.

"We saw no one getting sick in the halls or in the public rooms. I saw no one. If it wasn't for the captain telling us what was going on, all the extra cleaning, and the fact that we lost two days and two ports, it would have been a typical cruise," he said. "Believe me, we ran into a lot of disgruntled people."

Panto praised Royal Caribbean for how it handled the situation.

"I get in these situations in the city, too. They identified the problem, they took care of the people who had a problem and they prevented it from spreading even more," he said.

He and his wife took advantage of the 50% refund and 50% credit for a future cruise and booked a cruise for next year while they were still on the ship.