When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
32 sue over cruise sickness nightmare
1:20pm Tuesday 12th March 2013 in News
Passengers taking action say they were not told of norovirus on previous voyage MORE than 30 passengers are taking a Southampton holiday firm to court after hundreds were struck down with a vomiting bug onboard a luxury cruise.
Lawyers representing 32 holiday makers say P&O Cruises should have provided more information about an outbreak of norovirus before people got on board the Southampton-based Oriana.
More than 400 people fell ill with the winter sickness bug in December but many claim they were not aware when they boarded at Southampton that there had been an outbreak on the ship’s previous voyage.
Deep clean It led to angry passengers holding several mass protest meetings and ship’s captain Robert Camby reportedly pleading with them not to storm the bridge when he met a representative of travellers enduring the “holiday from hell”.
A total of 417 of the 1,800 people on board Oriana contracted the sickness and diarrhoea bug. The ship was only able to leave Southampton for its next cruise – to the Mediterranean – after a deep clean.
Now travel law experts at Irwin Mitchell have been instructed by a number of passengers to pursue claims against P&O Cruises parent company Carnival. They are calling for a full breakdown of the cleaning prior to the cruise’s departure and answers as to why passengers were not warned of the outbreak on the previous cruise.
Legal expert Suki Chhokar from Irwin Mitchell said: “Official guidelines for the management of norovirus infections on cruise ships state that a vessel affected by an outbreak should undergo a deep clean before setting sail again.
“However, the reports we have heard from passengers have raised concerns that they were not made aware of any previous problems onboard the ship until after they actually boarded and that the vessel set sail again only two hours after the previous cruise.”
He said their clients wanted “answers over how the outbreak happened, with the ultimate aim of trying to ensure that no one else faces the same problems.”
A P&O Cruises spokesman said an outbreak of norovirus is normally due to a passenger bringing the virus on board unwittingly.
“In such circumstances, as was unfortunately the case on Oriana last December, we then also implement comprehensive disinfection protocols, developed in conjunction with UK and international health authorities,” they said.