Couple Seeks Answers After Illness 'Ruins' Thomson Spirit Christmas Cruise

Lawyers Investigate Conditions On-Board Ship Where Holiday-Maker Suffered ‘Horrific Symptoms’


A woman whose dream Christmas cruise turned into a ‘nightmare’ after she fell seriously ill has instructed travel law experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the conditions on-board the ship.
Susan Hodges and her partner Jonathan Owen, 47, from Solihull in Birmingham, booked a one-week festive trip on board the Thomson Spirit Cruise Ship in December 2013 and were looking forward to their relaxing winter break.  
However, mid-way through the holiday, technical administrator Susan began experiencing a fever, diarrhoea, vomiting and severe stomach cramps – and the couple soon noticed that others on board were complaining of similar symptoms. The 46-year-old was so ill she was forced to seek medical help and was asked to remain in her cabin for two days.  
Towards the end of the trip the couple were told that a doctor would visit before they disembarked to confirm whether Susan was fit to fly home but despite numerous calls to confirm a date and time they were eventually told to go to the local hospital in Tenerife instead.
The couple has instructed specialist travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the circumstances that led to Susan’s illness – including the couple’s complaints that on occasions some of the food was served ‘lukewarm’ and under cooked, and that the hand sanitizers stationed around the ship which they saw, did not appear to be used by crew members even though a number of people on-board had become ill.
The law firm is also investigating the claims of passengers who became ill on board the same ship on two other voyages in 2013.
Susan said: “Being so far from home, feeling isolated and trapped and receiving such little support from the ship staff was really distressing. Jonathan was forced to stay in the cabin on the cruise with me. We knew of other people who seemed to be suffering from the same illness too.
“Whilst I was given medication on board the ship in the form of anti-sickness injection, paracetamol and rehydration fluids. It wasn’t until I went to the hospital in Tenerife that I was prescribed medication which really helped alleviate some of the symptoms which I had to take before I was able to fly home.”
Once back in the UK, Susan continued to suffer gastric symptoms which meant she was unable to celebrate the Christmas period as she usually would; enjoying meals out with family and friends.  
Susan, who had no pre-existing health conditions before the trip, added: “I suffered for weeks after I landed back in the UK. Our entire Christmas was ruined, as I didn’t even feel comfortable leaving the house for a meal with friends of family.
“I feel very disappointed that I could not enjoy my holiday or celebrate Christmas properly or as planned. I want to understand more about how I came to become so unwell, and whether more could have been done to prevent my illness.”
Clare Pearson, an expert travel lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the couple, said: “The symptoms which our client experienced caused her significant discomfort and upset on what should have been a relaxing Christmas break. 
“We are now looking into the conditions on-board the ship and investigating our client’s complaints in order to establish why Susan became ill during her holiday and we hope that cruise operator Thomson will work with us in our search for answers.”