Lawyers Representing Holidaymakers Demand Apology
Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have called for an “immediate apology and re-assurance” to passengers who suffered while on holiday on board the Thomson Dream cruise liner.
The firm currently represents more than 140 holidaymakers who fell ill on board the ship, which was recently the subject of a report on the BBC’s Watchdog programme.
Passengers featured on the show echoed concerns raised by Irwin Mitchell’s clients, including overflowing toilets, a smell of sewage, broken air conditioning, leaking pipes and murky water coming from the taps in cabins.
Clive Garner, head of travel law at the firm, has called on Thomson to take responsibility for the suffering endured by those on board. He has also urged action in the interest of future passengers on the ship.
He said: “There’s no escaping the facts - There have been massive failings in health and safety on the Thomson Dream. Many of the concerns raised on the BBC’s Watchdog show match those raised by our clients, many of whom have suffered from very serious illness.
“We have been instructed to act for more than 140 passengers, many of who fell violently ill onboard the Thomson Dream. The tour operator should hold its hands up, admit its mistakes and offer an apology and compensation to those who have suffered on the ship.”
A number of Irwin Mitchell’s clients report being confined to their cabins just days into their cruises after succumbing to an illness outbreak between 11 May and 8 June 2010.
The ship only came into service with Thomson in April. The tour operator described it as “the newest member of the Thomson fleet” and promised that all passengers would sample our “biggest, most elegant and luxurious ship yet”.
The ship is in fact more than 20 years old and was involved in a fatal accident in February when it was known as the Costa Europa.
Passengers say that the reality differed from Thomson’s description and are now demanding to know why their holidays were ruined.
One angry client who was aboard the Thomson Dream from 25 May to 1 June 2010 to celebrate her Wedding Anniversary describes sickness ‘sweeping through the ship like the plague’ and is demanding answers from Thomson.
Gillian Philip, age 47 of Kent said, “On Thomson’s website the Thomson Dream was described as the company’s ‘biggest and most luxurious ship’ but decor was shabby, pipes were leaking all over the place, and toilets were overflowing. It was the last place in the world I wanted to be on my anniversary.”
She adds, “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: “Many of our clients have described how they were severely ill on the Thomson Dream. Their symptoms range from stomach cramps to sickness and at least one passenger has been confirmed as having contracted Campylobacter on the ship.
“Such illnesses can have a lasting impact on health and can be particularly dangerous for the young and the elderly. It is crucial that illness outbreaks are prevented and that passengers’ health and safety is put before commercial considerations.
“Strict hygiene procedures should be followed on cruise ships, including quarantining people suffering with gastric illness, increased cleaning and disinfection, and warnings for passengers to be extra vigilant about hygiene.
“It is extremely worrying that Thomson allowed new passengers to board the ship when people already onboard were ill. New passengers were not told about the outbreak or given the option not to sail.
Mr Garner continued: “We have many years of experience in helping cruise ship passengers recover compensation following illness outbreaks. This includes recovering almost £1 million for more than 40 passengers who suffered illness on Thomson’s MS Topaz ship.
“Thomson needs to assure its customers – both past, present and future – that no more passengers will suffer illness on board their ships.”
If you have suffered an illness on the Thomson Dream or any other cruise ship, find out more about making a cruise compensation claim.