Dozens Of Britons To Take Legal Action After Illness Outbreak On Mediterranean Cruise

Illness On Board Island Escape Cruise Ship

02.03.2010

Leading travel law firm Irwin Mitchell has called for an urgent investigation into hygiene standards on board the Island Escape cruise ship after being asked for help by more than 70 passengers who suffered illness. The firm expects to continue receiving requests for assistance and the total number of those commencing legal action is likely to rise in the coming weeks.

So far travellers onboard the ship in January 2010 have reported incidents of diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, stomach cramps, weight loss and lethargy with two people hospitalised for three days in Tenerife. Norovirus has also been confirmed for many people travelling.

The Island Escape cruise ship is part of the Thomson fleet of ships and sails around the Mediterranean and Canary Islands.

Mark Watts from the travel law team at Irwin Mitchell said: “We had complaints about the Island Escape cruise liner in 2008 and there were reports of illness in 2009 so to see large numbers of people coming to us again this year is very disturbing.

“Over the years we have represented hundreds of cruise ship passengers who have fallen ill during cruises in different parts of the world, and most of them could have avoided suffering illness if adequate steps to prevent the spread of illness had been taken by the cruise lines they were travelling with.

“Strict safety and hygiene procedures must be followed on board all cruise ships including quarantining those with illness symptoms, increasing cleaning and disinfection measures on board, warning all passengers to take special care with hygiene and a range of other measures to reduce the risk of infection.

Passengers aboard the Island Escape have complained about the extremely poor quality of the ship which has been referred to as very shabby and grubby.

Watts added: “We urge all cruise line and tour operators to ensure that all relevant steps are taken to prevent further illness among passengers on their ships.”

Case Study

Miss Jill Nettleship, 47, and Mr Robert Fox, 48, from Sheffield travelled with Mr Fox’s elderly parents onboard the Island Escape in January this year when they were struck down with severe gastric illness.

They were both seen by a doctor onboard the ship and were hospitalised in Tenerife for three days. They have contacted their doctor since arriving back in UK and continue to suffer from symptoms.

Miss Nettleship said: “Due to their age, Robert’s parents lack confidence in going on holiday alone, and they had even considered giving up going on holiday. Robert and I thought we would all go together so that we could take care of them. However, our trip turned into a nightmare when we had to leave the ship and were put in hospital for three days. Robert’s mum and dad ended up having to travel home by themselves, and they were in tears about this. It was so distressing for them. 

“When you go on a cruise, you expect to good standards of health and hygiene, and you assume that the holiday will be a once in a lifetime experience. It certainly wasn’t the holiday we were expecting.”