A GROUP of passengers has launched a £500,000 compensation bid amid claims their holidays were “wrecked” by illness on cruises from Southampton.

The 25 guests have joined forces to issue the action against Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises.

They had all set sail from the city on a number of different voyages on the giant Independence of the Seas ship between December 10, 2010 and June 25, 2011.

The legal team representing the group say that although not all of the claimants had fallen ill, others suffered a “loss of enjoyment” due to the sickness onboard the vessel.

Irwin Mitchell solicitors confirmed that the action includes claims flies were seen in bathrooms and that a waiter was seen blowing their nose on a napkin that was then placed on a table.

Royal Caribbean International has said they welcome three million passengers on board every year and work hard to maintain “extremely high” health standards for guests and cruises.

But lawyers representing the guests involved said holidays had been “wrecked”.

None of those involved are believed to be from Southampton.

A spokesman from Royal Caribbean International said: “Of the 25 guests that you refer to not all of these guests experienced illness.

“The 25 guests were across five different sailings within a seven month period from December 2010 to June 2011.

“In this time period the ship, Independence of the Seas, sailed on 15 cruises, welcoming over 67,000 guests.

“Those affected by the short-lived illness responded well to over-the-counter medication which was administered on board the ship and therefore were not referred for additional treatment by the on-board medical teams.

“Our crew conducted extensive cleaning on board the ship and guests were kept up to date on these additional measures prior to embarkation and throughout their cruise. “Guests were also provided with advice and information on preventative steps and good hygiene, including hand washing and making use of hand sanitisers that we provided.”