Court of Appeal Rules Boudicca Cruise Passengers Hit By Gastric Illness Should Get Settlement

16 Passengers Will Now Get Fair Settlement After Appeal Judges uphold the original Trial Judge’s decision


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a group of passengers, whose cruises on board the Boudicca cruise ship were ruined by gastric illness problems, should receive a settlement as a result of  “multiple failures in implementing a plan” to prevent the spread of norovirus onboard.

The 16 passengers instructed specialist travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell after their voyages on the ship in 2011 were ruined when the majority of them suffered gastric illness symptoms, including symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting and severe stomach cramps.

In the Judgment, handed down today (29 July), Lord Justice Gross makes clear that the judgement from the original Trial in Birmingham County Court should stand paving the way for the passengers to finally receive a fair settlement. The original Trial Judge said that there were “multiple failures in implementing a plan” to prevent the spread of norovirus – which could not be dismissed as just isolated incidents.

Commenting after the Judgment was handed down, expert International Personal Injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell reiterated their disappointment at Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Limited, repeatedly denying it was responsible for the problems which affected passengers who travelled on board the Boudicca cruise ship between March to April 2011.

Over a four year period between 2009 and 2013 Irwin Mitchell has now represented more than 200 passengers affected by similar illness problems on board Fred Olsen’s Boudicca cruise ship.

The law firm secured a settlement of £280,000 for passengers on-board the Boudicca cruise ship in 2009 and 2010, and the battle for some passengers who suffered illness on-board the cruise ship in 2012 and 2013 still continues.

Many of the passengers included in the successful group legal action following cruises in 2011 were seen by the ship’s medical staff and some were confined to their cabins.

Passengers told lawyers at Irwin Mitchell that they were concerned about hygiene procedures on board the ship which included inadequate cleaning of public areas and their cabins. There were also complaints amongst some of the passengers that despite the illness outbreak, they were not told before boarding of the problems on board.

Simon O’Loughlin, a specialist International Personal Injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who represents the group, said: “This Court of Appeal victory will finally give the passengers who suffered illness during and after cruises on the Boudicca cruise ship in 2011 a sense of justice. They booked their trips expecting a relaxing cruise but instead ended up suffering illness often confining them to their cabins for days.

“It’s extremely disappointing that Fred Olsen have fought this to Trial, and then all the way to the Court of Appeal, but we are delighted that the Court has again ruled in our clients’ favour and they will now finally receive a fair settlement from the cruise company after enduring such terrible times on board the Boudicca ship.

”There are strict procedures and plans in order to prevent the spread of illness on board cruise ships, which include the need for ships to be subject to an extensive deep cleaning process following reports of problems. Sadly in this case the plans were not implemented sufficiently which should have been a priority after the number of passengers who had become ill.

”Whilst nothing can ever fully make up for the suffering they endured during the cruise, this is a great result for our clients and I am very pleased to see that the Court has fully recognised the need for cruise lines to take appropriate and sufficient steps to prevent passengers from contracting illness.”

Among the passengers that Irwin Mitchell represented is Diane West from Reading in Berkshire, whose cruise was ruined after her husband fell seriously ill on board the ship in March 2011 and who had to spend the last few days of the cruise confined to the cabin.

Diane West 70, said: “I am relieved that our legal battle is finally over. Our cruise was a nightmare and I just wanted justice for what happened. My husband Raymond was suffered terribly with diarrhoea and vomiting. We had to see the doctor on board who prescribed some medication for him to try and settle his stomach but it ruined our trip.

“I was concerned about the hygiene standards on board the ship, in particular the staff’s efficiency of cleaning on board, especially our cabin. The staff didn’t seem to pay much attention to the bathroom and I did not think they had cleaned it properly.

“I am happy the Court of Appeal Judges agreed with the Trial Judge and I am relieved I can finally put this experience behind me.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in Cruise Illness Claims.