Cruise line cites fog, not illness, for return

FILE - The new Caribbean Princess departs on its maiden voyage from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in this April 3, 2004 file photo. Federal health officials are investigating after an outbreak of illness has caused Caribbean Princess cruise ship to ends its trip early and returned to port in Houston late Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 more than a day ahead of schedule after more than 170 passengers and crew members aboard became sick. (AP Photo/Princess Cruises, Andy Newman, File)
FILE - The new Caribbean Princess departs on its maiden voyage from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in this April 3, 2004 file photo. Federal health officials are investigating after an outbreak of illness has caused Caribbean Princess cruise ship to ends its trip early and returned to port in Houston late Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 more than a day ahead of schedule after more than 170 passengers and crew members aboard became sick. (AP Photo/Princess Cruises, Andy Newman, File)

PASADENA, Texas (AP) — A cruise line official says a ship with more than 160 sick passengers returned early to a Houston-area port because of a dense fog forecast and not due to illness.

Princess Cruises spokeswoman Julie Benson says passengers disembarked Friday from the Caribbean Princess at the Bayport Cruise Terminal in Pasadena.

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship returned to New Jersey on Wednesday after nearly 700 people became ill. The passengers have been suffering from a gastrointestinal illness.

The vessel departed Jan. 25 for the Caribbean, with more than 4,200 people. It returned Thursday night instead of Saturday.

The National Weather Service says it issued a sea fog advisory from Friday through Sunday.

Benson says the ship would not have returned early if it had not been for the fog advisory.

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