Legal Action Taken After Norovirus Outbreak On Holiday Cruise

Norovirus Onboard Diamond Princess Cruise Ship

14.11.2008

British holidaymakers who were affected by an outbreak of the 'winter vomiting bug' Norovirus whilst travelling in the Far East on the Diamond Princess Cruise ship in November are taking legal action against tour operator Princess Cruises.

The Diamond Princess Cruise ship was quarantined in Shanghai when up to 400 passengers were affected by the virus, which is highly contagious.

Christopher Perryman (52) and his wife Susan (48), from Upminster, Essex had their three week holiday ruined when Mr Perryman began to suffer from the virus during the second week, suffering from diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach pains.

Mrs Perryman became worried about her husband's health and called the ship's doctor, who came to their cabin. The doctor confirmed that Mr Perryman was suffering from Norovirus and he was advised to confine himself to his cabin for 48 hours.

The following day, Mrs Perryman noticed that there were not as many people walking around the ship as there had been previously. Mrs Perryman said; "I spoke to many people, mainly English and American, who had friends or relatives confined to their cabins due to the same illness."

She continued; "I am angry and upset with Princess Cruises that my husband became so seriously ill. We expected that there would be stricter sanitisation procedures on board to prevent the spread of the illness. On the first day my husband was ill, no one came to clean the cabin. Even when the cabin was cleaned, I do not think that it was done sufficiently."

The couple are now safely back at their home but they were both distressed by the whole incident and felt that more could have been done to prevent Mr Perryman's illness.

Clive Garner, the head of Irwin Mitchell's International Travel Litigation Group, said, "There are clear protocols for handling outbreaks of this kind. It is very important that an outbreak is contained and that the risk of transmission is reduced as quickly as possible."

"Questions will need to be asked about when the first cases of illness occurred and whether all necessary steps were taken at the earliest opportunity in order to prevent the infection spreading to other passengers. If not, passengers have a right to know why, and they may be entitled to substantial damages if they have gone on to contract illness on board the Diamond Princess. It is very unfortunate that Mr and Mrs Perryman’s holiday was ruined in this way."

Travel Litigation specialists Irwin Mitchell have received a number of enquiries relating to gastric illness onboard this popular cruise ship.