Illness On Cruise Liner
More than 400 holidaymakers have contacted travel law experts at Irwin Mitchell after their trips on the Thomson Dream cruise liner were hit by illness.
The passengers travelled on the ship between May 11th and June 8th 2010 and suffered gastric illnesses including campylobacter.
Many of the passengers paid more than £1,000 for their holidays but say they were confined to their cabins by illness outbreaks that plagued several voyages of the ship.
The group has accused the tour operator of failing to give them all the information about the ship, which is actually 20 years old and formerly known as the Costa Europa. In February the ship was involved in accident that killed three crew members.
Letters promised that passengers would sample Thomson’s “biggest, most elegant and luxurious ship yet” but those who travelled on board say the reality was very different.
Clive Garner, a leading travel lawyer at Irwin Mitchell said: “We have been inundated with calls from very angry passengers from the Thomson Dream who are furious that a so called luxury break ended with them suffering severe illness and staying on a ship that was nothing like Thomson advertised. So far we have requests for assistance from at least 400 past passengers and this number is rising daily.
"We are continuing to investigate this outbreak but already it is apparent that passengers had very distressing experiences on board the Thomson Dream. Thomson owes each and every one of these passengers an apology, an explanation and fair compensation. If Thomson can’t sort out problems with the Thomson Dream, the ship shouldn’t be allowed to sail. It is unacceptable that other passengers could fall ill and have a holiday ruined due to poor hygiene standards.”
Gillian Philip travelled on the ship from May 25th to June 1st and says illness was “sweeping through the ship like the plague”. She added “On Thomson’s website the Thomson Dream was described as the company’s biggest and most luxurious ship but décor was shabby, pipes were leaking all over the place, and toilets were overflowing.
“I was so poorly on board the ship as were the majority of passengers I spoke to, and I heard that lots of people couldn’t leave their rooms they were so ill. I didn’t get the answers I wanted on board the ship, but I want and deserve them now.”
Mr Garner adds: “Clients who have asked Irwin Mitchell for help have described how they were severely ill on the Thomson Dream, with symptoms ranging from stomach cramps to sickness and at least one passenger has been confirmed as having contracted Campylobacter on the ship, a form of food poisoning.
“Such illnesses can have a long lasting impact on health, and can be extremely dangerous for the young and the elderly, so it is essential that illness outbreaks are prevented and that passenger protection is put before commercial considerations.
“Strict safety and hygiene procedures should be followed on board all cruise liners, in some circumstances this includes quarantining anyone with symptoms of illness, increased cleaning and disinfection measures, warning all passengers to be extra vigilant about hygiene, as well as a range of other measures to reduce the risk of infection.”
“It is deeply concerning that Thomson allowed new holidaymakers to board the ship, at five different stages throughout the cruise, when passengers already aboard the liner were ill and without informing new passengers about the outbreak and giving them the option not to sail.
Garner continued, “Over the years we have successfully represented many hundreds of cruise passengers who have suffered illness during cruises in different parts of the world. This includes recovering almost £1 million in compensation for more than 40 passengers who suffered illness including salmonella and e.coli, during cruises on board Thomson’s MS Topaz cruise liner.
“Thomson needs to assure its customers, both past, present and those who are due to sail on Thomson Dream that no more passengers will suffer illness. Meanwhile, we are continuing to receive requests for help from passengers who have suffered illness and we invite Thomson to enter negotiations with us as soon as possible to resolve our clients' claims for compensation.”