Health officials are working closely with the owners of a cruise liner following a norovirus outbreak.

Several people onboard P&O Cruises’ Ventura suffered from sickness and diarrhoea.

The ship – which left Southampton for the Canary Islands on May 11 – will return to the city tomorrow before setting sail again.

Passengers boarding the cruise liner will face delays to allow for a 'fire-break' of up to seven hours following disembarkation.

Southampton Port Health Authority confirmed an authorised port health officer will board the ship upon its arrival. 

A spokesperson said: “Southampton Port Health Authority has been made aware of elevated figures of acute gastro enteritis (AGE) affecting passengers on board MV Ventura recently.

“The Authority has been communicating with Carnival UK regarding this incident and we understand the ship continues to sail at a heightened level of response for AGE for the duration of the cruise.

“We are working with UKHSA to offer assistance to the vessel on its return to Southampton.”

READ MORE: Passengers isolating on cruise ship after norovirus outbreak

Ventura is scheduled to dock in Southampton at 5am on Saturday before departing for La Coruna at 9pm that evening.

Additional cleaning time is needed before the new guests board.

External cleaning contractors will board to provide "enhanced cleaning and disinfection" throughout the whole vessel.

The delay will also provide additional time to increase disinfection measures in the terminal and ensure a significant gap between embarking and disembarking passengers. 

This news comes after the Echo previously reported passengers on a four-day cruise to Amsterdam fell ill with the gastrointestinal bug this month.

Helen Bradburn from Essex said she waited five hours for her bathroom to be deep cleaned after her 19-year-old daughter, May, also fell ill during the cruise.

A spokesperson from P&O said: “There are various additional sanitisation methods that will be carried out onboard Ventura.

“These methods are in addition to our already approved, recognised and proven protocols that happen throughout every cruise sailing to uphold the wellbeing of all guests and crew onboard.”

Carnival UK is contacting new passengers to ensure those with symptoms do not embark on the next cruise.