Marco Polo Cruise Passengers Urged To Take Advice Over Refund Offer

Marco Polo cruise illness case

17.07.2009

A leading expert in travel law has urged passengers who fell ill onboard the Marco Polo cruiseliner to take advice before accepting the operator’s money-back offer.

Transocean Tours has announced that all passengers on the £2,000-a-person trip on the Marco Polo liner – described as ‘exquisite’ on the firm’s website - will be offered a full refund, including any money spent on drinks, after hundreds fell ill on board following a reported outbreak of Norovirus and the cruise was terminated in the Cromarty Firth just days into its two-week schedule.

But Clive Garner, head of the highly renowned Travel Litigation Team at leading national firm Irwin Mitchell, has urged any passengers on the trip who suffered illness to think hard about accepting the offer without seeking legal advice.

Irwin Mitchell, which has acted for thousands of cruise passengers all over the world hit by illness on board liners, has already been instructed by a number of passengers who travelled on the previous cruise on the Marco Polo.

Garner said: "At first sight, the chance for passengers to get their money back may seem an attractive offer but passengers may be entitled to significantly higher levels of compensation.

"In a similar case in which we acted for around 50 passengers on a cruise ship who contracted Norovirus, average compensation payments were around £7000 each. In serious illness cases the damages were substantially higher than the average.

"Typically in an outbreak of this kind we expect a proportion of passengers will also go onto develop long term and in some cases permanent illness. Accepting an offer of settlement at an early stage may mean that passengers are severely under compensated for their illness."

He added: "It is of course entirely up to each and every passenger to do what they think it best for them but I would urge them to think strongly about taking legal advice before they sign away their rights for what could be a fairly paltry sum for the situation they have found themselves in through no fault of their own."

The Marco Polo - which its owners claims has 'an enviable pedigree' - was boarded by officials and doctors from the London Port Authority over the weekend after returning to port in Tilbury, where the remaining passengers on the ill-fated cruise disembarked having been offered the refund as a ‘gesture of goodwill’ by the cruise operators.