1. ITV Report

More than 200 people fell sick aboard Royal Caribbean cruise to Sydney

Five people have been hospitalised. Credit: AP

More than 200 people fell ill and five were hospitalised in Australia after an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Symptoms were reported by 209 guests among the 5,796 people aboard the Ovation of the Seas vessel earlier this month, Royal Caribbean International cruise line spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said.

Most of the passengers affected by the illness were treated by the ship's doctors with over-the-counter medication, Ms Martinez said.

Five people were taken to the Royal Hobart Hospital following the ship's return to Sydney on December 7 at the end of a 14-night cruise from Singapore.

One of the passengers hospitalised is in intensive care. Credit: AP

Ms Martinez said she had no details on the type of gastrointestinal illness and would not provide conditions of the hospitalised guests out of privacy concerns.

She said sanitation experts were flown in to perform "enhanced sanitary procedures" to supplement routine cleaning protocols and "minimise the risk of a recurrence."

The husband of one of the hospitalised passengers told Associated Press, on condition of anonymity, that his wife had eaten "undercooked chicken" onboard.

"Her condition continued to worsen and I thought she was going to die in front of me," he said.

He added that she was recovering in the intensive care unit.

The Ovation of the Seas took its inaugural voyage in June 2016. Credit: AP

Dr Mark Veitch, Australia's director of public health, said that the ship was using established protocols to manage the illness and limit its spread.

He added that these types of outbreaks and requests for medical assistance for passengers are "not uncommon" in big ships.

The Ovation of the Seas is the third ship in Royal Caribbean's Quantum Class which took its inaugural voyage in 2016.

The 168,666 ton ship is 1141ft long and carries up to 4,905 guests and 1,500 crew.

It features the North Star viewing pod, a sports centre, surf and skygliding simulators and a spa as well as dozens of bars and restaurants.