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Another Cruise Ship Docks Early After Gastrointestinal Outbreak

Illness outbreak forces another cruise ship to return early. 

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Federal health officials are investigating after an outbreak of illness may have caused a Princess Cruises ship to ends its trip early and return to port near Houston.

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A Texas-based cruise ship returned home early after multiple passengers fell ill with a gastrointestinal illness - the second cruise cut short this week following a contagious outbreak.Earlier this week, a massive outbreak affecting more than 600 individuals forced a Royal Caribbean cruise ship to return early to New Jersey.

[READ: Hundreds of Passengers on Royal Caribbean Cruise Fall Ill]

A Princess Cruises ship returned to its home port near Houston late Thursday after more than 160 passengers fell ill with what cruise line officials suspected was norovirus, USA Today reported.

However, Princess Cruises spokeswoman Julie Benson said the ship docked early to avoid the potential fog-related closure of the port.

"We have been really successful at stopping the spread of the norovirus on board," she said, according to CBS News.

Benson said the cruise line believes the virus was "brought on board by passengers."

[ALSO: Dallas Declares State of Emergency to Fight West Nile Outbreak]

However, some passengers believe the cruise line is downplaying the sickness.

"That's their story and they're sticking to it," passenger Murray Sharkey, who was quarantined in his room due to the illness, said to a CBS Houston affiliate. He indicated that the situation was worse and told the news station the buffet had been closed four days.

Llelwyn Grant, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said health officers would board the ship and investigate the situation, according to Reuters.