THE luxury liner Queen Victoria has been stricken with a stomach bug just three weeks after it was launched in Southampton.

There are now fears that the failure of a bottle of champagne to smash first time on its bow during a naming ceremony may have cursed the £300m ship.

Cunard bosses broke with tradition by inviting the Duchess of Cornwall, rather than the Queen, to name and bless the latest addition to their fleet in its home port.

But an audience of 2,000 were left groaning when Camilla released the bottle only to see it bounce off the hull and dangle unbroken.

A second bottle was promptly smashed over the side of the deck.

Now on its second voyage - around the Canary Islands - the Queen Victoria has been hit by the infamous Norovirus which confined 78 passengers to their cabins.

The winter sickness bug causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

Angry passengers, who paid between £1,100 and £24,400 each for the trip, say they plan to sue for compensation after spending four days on water and anti-sickness jabs from medical staff.

Many of the affected passengers had begun to recover by the time the Queen Victoria docked at Lanzarote yesterday.

A spokesman for Cunard said 25 guests were still ill. He added the outbreak had been contained and it had not affected the cruise for the rest of the guests.