Cruise ship sick toll nears 700 on return to New Jersey

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The number of passengers and crew reported stricken ill on a cruise ship returning to New Jersey has risen to nearly 700.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday its latest count puts the number of those sickened aboard the Explorer of the Seas at 630 passengers and 54 crew members.

Royal Caribbean says most guests who fell ill are now up and about as the ship heads to port in Bayonne, where it is scheduled to dock Wednesday afternoon.

The CDC is recommending that people who still have symptoms be housed in nearby hotels or seen at medical facilities.

Health investigators suspect a norovirus is to blame. If it is, the CDC says it would be one of the worst cruise ship norovirus outbreaks in 20 years.