Passengers complained the ship was in "complete chaos" after they were forced to stay on board when the vessel docked in Falmouth, Jamaica.
The rush to return to port wasn't necessarily out of concern for the sick passengers and crew, however - Royal Caribbean was in a hurry to hose down the ship in preparation for another herd of passengers due to depart on Sunday.
"We think the right thing to do is to get everyone home early rather than have guests worry about their health", said Rob Zeiger, chief communications manager for Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean plans to hose down the ship in time to send out a new load of victims - er, holiday-makers - the next day.
While media reports state the cause of the outbreak as norovirus, CDC officials report the causative agent as being "unknown" as of January 10.
It has since been announced that the ship will be returning to port in Florida a day early and that those on board will be given full refunds of their fare.
Thomas shared a video on Twitter of crew members cleaning the ship.
"During this sailing, there have been a small percentage of guests onboard who have experienced gastrointestinal illness, thought to be Norovirus", Oasis of the Seas representative Goran Peterson states in the letter.
Cruise ships visiting US Ports must declare to the CDC any outbreak of gastro affecting over 3 per cent of their passengers. The CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program posts incidents on its website when the outbreaks include more than 3 percent of the passengers onboard. The Miami Herald is reporting that Oasis of the Seas will cut its current cruise short.
In 2018, there were 11 outbreaks of gastrointestinal illnesses on cruise ships and five were determined to be norovirus. Oasis of the Seas has passed every sanitation inspection since its first in 2010.
For Popeleski, who didn't get sick on the trip, there is a silver lining despite the interruption to his vacation.
Norovirus has also been spreading across the United Kingdom, with a school in Hampshire having to close in December after a reported outbreak.
"I'm still having a good time", he said.