Cruise Ship Illness
A couple from Nottingham had their holiday ruined when they both became ill only 5 days into their holiday on the £300m luxury Cunard cruise ship 'Queen Victoria'.
The 90,000-tonne liner was launched from Southampton by the Duchess of Cornwall in December 2007.
Dudley Bendall (73) from Aslockton in Nottinghamshire and Joan Stevens (74) set sail from Southampton on 21 December 2007 for a 2 week Christmas and New Year cruise around the Canary Islands. On Christmas Day they both began to suffer diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach cramps.
The couple were confined to their cabin at the request of the Cunard management, where they were reliant on the room service provided onboard. They were both treated by the ship’s doctor.
Mr Bendall said "A nurse who came to check up on us told me that there were so many people requiring treatment that he had been working for 24 hours solid."
The couple were concerned on arrival onboard the ship that no disinfectant hand gel was provided for passengers. It was not until after the outbreak that disinfectant gel was provided for diners in the ship's restaurants.
The couple had complained that the toilets in the cabins on their section of the ship did not work properly for 2 days at the start of the holiday, and they had to wander the corridors searching for a toilet that worked.
Mrs Stevens said "I spoke to a lot of people who were very disappointed with the cruise, when we got back to Southampton on 6 January 2008 a lot of people couldn’t get off the boat quick enough."
Mr Bendall said "I was so disappointed with this holiday. It was like a holiday camp, but on the sea. I expected a much better standard of service, and half of our holiday was totally ruined by our illness." He is now pursuing a claim for compensation against the tour operator, Cunard.
Juliette Eden, a solicitor specialising in travel law at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors commented, "Outbreaks of illness on board cruise ships result in misery for people who have spent a large amount of money on what they had hoped would be a dream holiday. Cruise ship operators must take all reasonable steps to minimise the risk of passengers becoming infected and to control any outbreaks of illness that do occur."
"We are currently taking legal action against the tour operator as a result of this incident and we hope that such complaints will lead to improvements in basic health and hygiene measures on board cruise ships to avoid future holidaymakers suffering similar problems."