Passengers on a cruise which left Southampton last weekend are in isolation after an outbreak of a vomiting bug.

P&O Cruises has stepped up sanitisation protocols on board the Ventura after several passengers fell sick with norovirus.

The ship is currently on a 14-night cruise around the Canary Islands after leaving Southampton on May 11.

Some of those affected have been isolated, a spokesperson for P&O Cruises confirmed to the Echo.

The ship is due back in Southampton on May 25.

According to the Metro, more than 150 guests have been isolated and there have been 250 suspected cases of norovirus, although the exact number is unconfirmed by the company.

P&O said that it has “swiftly implemented approved and enhanced sanitisation protocols”.

A spokesperson told the Echo: “Upon embarkation all guests were provided with an advisory notice with precautionary health measures for on board and on shore, as is standard procedure across our fleet.

“Following reports of guests with gastrointestinal symptoms, P&O Cruises swiftly implemented approved and enhanced sanitisation protocols to uphold the welfare of everyone onboard. 

“Alongside the above, a further enhanced and extended sanitisation took place on May 17 in Tenerife. Ensuring the health and wellbeing of all guests and crew is our absolute priority.”

Protocols that have been implemented include enhanced sanitation of the ship with specialist teams, isolation of those affected, serving the buffet instead of it being self-service, and closing the launderettes but offering complimentary washing and pressing.

The Echo first reported on May 4 about a norovirus outbreak on Ventura.

It was preparing to sail into Southampton having returned from a cruise to Amsterdam.

Holidaymakers told the Echo of violent bouts of sickness, being rushed to hospital, a ruined hen party and issues replacing soiled bedding.

But P&O Cruises said all holidaymakers were warned before embarking, and only two per cent of those on board were symptomatic.

P&O has now said that the UK Health Security Agency has reported an increase in cases across the UK as a whole.

The UKHSA said in a report at the start of May that norovirus activity has “remained high in recent weeks”.

According to the NHS website, the main symptoms of norovirus are nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Those infected may also have a high temperature, a headache and aching arms and legs.

Ventura, which has a capacity of 3,078 guests and 1,205 crew, entered service in 2008 and is based out of Southampton.