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Alarm Raised On Fred Olsen Cruise Ship Safety As Latest Bout Of Illness Hits

Illness On Boudicca Cruise Liner


Travel law specialists today expressed frustration at failing hygiene standards on board Fred Olsen cruise ships, as reports of yet another bout of illness emerge.

Leading law firm Irwin Mitchell is already representing a group of more than 80 angry customers of prominent operator Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, following five separate outbreaks of illness in the past few months on its Boudicca cruise liner.

Reports today of a new outbreak on the same ship raise serious questions about whether the Boudicca should be withdrawn from service until it can receive a clean bill of health from hygiene experts. 

Clive Garner, Head of Travel Law at Irwin Mitchell, said “That yet another outbreak of Norovirus has occurred on the Boudicca cruise ship is extremely worrying and must raise doubts about how seriously Fred Olsen cruises take their primary duty of care to their passengers”.

“We first raised the alarm about standards aboard this ship months ago.  We remain very concerned that there does not appear to have been any review of hygiene procedures on board all Fred Olsen cruise ships since we first began hearing about serious outbreaks of illness last October.  It is about time the Fred Olsen management started to take this ongoing problem seriously.” 

Irwin Mitchell is currently representing over 80 frustrated tourists who holidayed on five different cruises between October last year and January on board the 449-cabin Boudicca¸ which the firm’s website claims is ‘world class’.

But they were all struck down with illness and confined to their cabins on board the 205-metre vessel, which on one recent voyage was forced to dock a day early after reports that 500 passengers were suffering from Norovirus.

Clive Garner continued said: “The firm advertises this ship as offering ‘an air of dignity’. Most of our clients spent days at a time being told they couldn’t even leave their cabins because they had fallen ill.  That doesn’t sound very dignified to me.

He added: “It’s not the first time we’ve come across problem with cruise liners. Their image may be luxurious but they have to live up to that, and it appears the Boudicca has fallen some way short. It’s appalling that they have to go through this when they’re supposed to be enjoying a relaxing holiday.

“Although victims of Norovirus often suffer only short term symptoms, for some their illnesses can be severe, long lasting and sometimes permanent.  We urge Fred Olsen to take immediate action to ensure that all relevant steps are taken to prevent further illness among passengers on their ships are taken.”

Among the passengers affected were Derek and Marina Eaton, who spent £10,000 on a New Years break which they thought would be the cruise of a lifetime. But both became seriously ill and have now admitted that they would have rather have just given the money to their family.

Mr Eaton, 75, said his wife, Mrs Eaton (70), was confined to her cabin for two whole days while staff in full bio-hazard suits came to clean the room.

When Mrs Eaton was released from her cabin confinement, Mr Eaton then got diarrhoea which meant the couple missed more excursions and the New Years Eve celebrations too as he now couldn’t leave the cabin.

Mr Eaton says “We feel that Fred Olsen have been very negligent in subjecting us to a health hazard knowing full well that there had been Norovirus outbreaks on several previous cruises on the same ship.  We should have been given this information and been allowed the opportunity of deciding if we wished to proceed with the cruise.”

Thomas and Eileen Carr took the Christmas cruise as an opportunity to celebrate Mr Carr’s 80th birthday.  The couple said the illness spread like wildfire throughout the ship without any sign or warning and after both became ill they cut their holiday short and came home early. 

Douglas and Margaret Holmes also came home early and have described the response to the outbreaks as being ‘total chaos’.

“The whole holiday was a disaster,” 73-year-old Mr Holmes said.  “The standard of cleanliness on the ship was very poor.  In some of the toilets you saw vomit on the floor. They were mopping sick and diarrhoea up.  All Fred Olsen wanted was the money”.

Protocols to deal with the management of Norovirus and outbreaks of other gastric illness on board cruise ships have been in place for many years and demand strict adherence to enhanced hygiene standards, including quarantining those with illness symptoms, increasing cleaning and disinfection measures on board, warning all passengers to take special care with hygiene and a range of other measures to reduce the risk of infection.

If you have fallen ill while on a cruise ship, find out more about making a cruise compensation claim.