Dream Christmas Cruise Was More Of A 'Nightmare’

196 Holidaymakers Launch Court Battle After Shocking Cruise Ship Holiday  


Lawyers representing passengers have been inundated with complaints of appalling health and hygiene standards onboard the Island Escape ship during several cruises between December 2009 and June 2010.

More than a year on, Irwin Mitchell’s specialist travel team, who are also acting for passengers who became ill on the ship this year, say that they have been left with no choice but to issue proceedings against Sunshine Cruises Limited, TUI UK Limited and First Choice Holidays and Flights Limited after attempts to deal with the matter out of court.

Collette Ellis, 57, from Fareham, Hampshire, is amongst the group of passengers. She and her family boarded the Island Escape in December 2009 for a two week cruise to celebrate Christmas, New Year and her mother’s 75th birthday.

Within two days of the trip, the family were struck with diarrhoea, stomach cramps and sickness which left them confined to their cabins for most of their holiday. Collette and her mother have continued to experience gastric symptoms on their return home.
Elizabeth Tetzner, a travel law expert from Irwin Mitchell who is representing the family in their battle for justice, said: “The pattern of illness outbreaks on board the Island Escape is a matter of great concern to us and our clients. It is unusual for us to see repeated illness outbreaks of this kind cruise after cruise and the accounts of many of our clients’ experiences on board are alarming.”

Commenting on her family’s horrendous experience, Collette said: “Conditions aboard the vessel were shockingly bad. Toilets were blocked and overflowing, cabins were grubby and food was not served at the correct temperature.  It was utterly appalling.”

She continues: “We had hoped for a dream Christmas cruise but it quickly turned into a nightmare and was the last place we wanted to celebrate Christmas or mum’s birthday.

“To make things worse on our return home me and mum continued to suffer illness. My family and I want to be compensated, not just for the pain and suffering we experienced on this so called holiday and its continuing effects, but for the worry and strain this nightmare experience put on us.”

Elizabeth Tetzner of Irwin Mitchell adds: “When you go on holiday, particularly on a cruise at Christmas time like Colette and her family, you expect good standards of health and hygiene and to come back with special memories, not an illness and a holiday you would rather forget.

“Often illness can have long term effects on victims. Some of our clients are still suffering as a result of their illnesses even now. Cruise operators owe legal duties to ensure reasonable standards of hygiene and safety and they have a clear duty to warn passengers if there is a clear risk of them contracting illness on board.

“We are calling on the relevant Tour Operators to work with us so that all of these claims can be dealt with swiftly and amicably.

“More needs to be done by the industry and the authorities to tackle this problem and significantly reduce the risk of illness being contracted on board cruise liners.”