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Nearly 300 passengers sickened on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas cruise ship

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By Janelle Griffith  with NBC News U.S. News
Image: Oasis of the Seas
Royal Caribbean International's Oasis of the Seas.   -   Copyright  Chris Ison PA Wire/AP file

Nearly 300 passengers aboard the Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas cruise ship were sickened with a stomach virus since it departed Port Canaveral in Brevard County, Florida, on Sunday.

A total of 277 guests and crew members have been affected with a gastrointestinal illness, a spokesman for Royal Caribbean Cruises told NBC News on Wednesday. All of the nearly 9,000 guests aboard the ship will receive a refund because of the outbreak, said Owen Torres.

Those affected by the virus are being treated by the ship's medical team with over-the-counter medication, the spokesman said.

The ship, which has been on a seven-night cruise through the Caribbean, will return to Florida on Saturday, a day early than expected, he said.

"We think the right thing to do is to get everyone home early rather than have guests worry about their health," Torres told NBC News. "Returning on Saturday also gives us more time to completely clean and sanitize the ship before her next sailing."

Oasis of the Seas, a 1,187-foot long vessel, is one of the world's largest cruise ships, according to Royal Caribbean.