0370 1500 100

Irwin Mitchell’s Travel Team Reveals Worst Five Holiday Hotspots

Cruises Top Irwin Mitchell’s Annual Holiday 2013 Complaints List for Fourth Consecutive Year


The worst five holiday hotspots of 2013 have been revealed with cruises topping an annual list of most complained about holidays for the fourth consecutive year.

The list is based on the number of complaints reported to the UK’s leading and largest travel law team at national law firm Irwin Mitchell by holidaymakers whose trips during 2013 – often to expensive luxury resorts – were ruined by either illness or complaints regarding the quality of the service provided. 

Cruises accounted for almost 27% of cases dealt with by Irwin Mitchell’s specialist lawyers, with Turkey (17%), Egypt (15%), Dominican Republic (12%) and Spain (10%) making up the rest of the top five most complained of destinations where holidaymakers suffered illness.

Irwin Mitchell has represented thousands of holidaymakers and recovered millions of pounds for holidaymakers over 20 years after their breaks were ruined due to injury and illness.

Lawyers say most of the problems reported to them are due to inadequate health, hygiene and food standards and are repeating their calls for tour operators to do more to ensure hygiene standards are improved in failing hotels and on board sub-standard cruise liners. 

As well as family holidays, tourists have suffered ruined honeymoons, wedding anniversaries and birthday celebrations and many of those who were seriously ill have required hospital or other emergency medical treatment. 

Holidaymakers have suffered confirmed illnesses such as Salmonella, E-coli and Cryptosporidium which can cause long-lasting health problems– and lawyers say that from their expert evidence it appears that many incidents could and should have been avoided with better hygiene standards.

Expert Opinion
Unfortunately, the same issues, such as poor food preparation and storage and unclean swimming pools are responsible for the majority of illness cases we deal with.

“What is worrying about our research is that many of the destinations and indeed many of the individual hotels and cruise liners featured have appeared in our research before. We are especially concerned about the number of cruise passengers still falling ill on board cruise liners.

"Tour operators and cruise line operators need to recognise their responsibility to their customers to ensure that the appropriate standards of hygiene, health and safety are maintained.

“Gastric illness and food poisoning can be very serious and we have many clients that have contracted potentially fatal illnesses including Salmonella, Cryptosporidium and E-Coli while on holiday. This is unacceptable and tour operators and hoteliers must take responsibility for their guests’ welfare.”
Suki Chhokar, Partner
Irwin Mitchell’s five most complained about destinations for 2013 were:


Although not technically a destination, cruises have topped the complaints list for the past four years and show no sign of letting up with several prominent outbreaks on board popular ships. Irwin Mitchell is currently representing passengers involved in group actions against cruise operators following cruises upon the Island Escape, Boudicca, Oriana and Thomson Dream, amongst many others.

The travel law team are also representing a number of victims of the Costa Concordia disaster many of whom continue to suffer from the psychological effects of the tragedy.


Turkey has also featured on the list several times in recent years and holidaymakers in 2013 have complained about problems such as the well-publicised outbreak of gastric illness at the Sentido Perissia Hotel for which liability investigations are continuing and the position on liability is awaited. 


Sharm El Sheikh and the Red Sea are popular destinations for holidaymakers but many tourists are returning home with more than they bargained for, despite a high number of the resorts being four and five star.

Guests at the Holiday Village, Jaz Mirabel and Fun City are among those taking legal action after their 2013 holidays and their claims are being investigated by both Irwin Mitchell and the respective tour operators. 

Dominican Republic

Returning to the list this year after a period of absence is the Dominican Republic where lawyers have seen many cases of holidaymakers travelling further afield to luxury and exotic resorts but being left disappointed after illness ruined their holidays.

A number of the resorts in the Dominican Republic boast of being luxurious and are often four or five-star, however, the lawyers confirm that there has been an increase in illness cases reported to them, in particular at hotels such as Riu Merengue and Riu Bachata where there was a large outbreak of gastric illness in the summer of 2013 including bacterial infections such as E.coli. The Tour Operator continues to investigate these claims and their position on whether liability is admitted or denied is still awaited. 


Spain remains the most popular holiday destination in Europe for British holidaymakers so could perhaps be expected to be among the top destinations well known for illness. In 2013 the law firm were contacted by holidaymakers who had stayed at the Alcudia Pins after suffering from suspected gastric illness which was a blast from the past after the 2003 outbreak at this hotel when Irwin Mitchell recovered millions of pounds in damages for almost 1,900 holidaymakers. These new claims are still being investigated by Irwin Mitchell and the relevant tour operator. Other tourists in 2013 suffered gastric illness and poor food hygiene at many hotels including the Bellevue Club in Majorca where liability remains in issue.

Top Tips

Irwin Mitchell has the following advice for anyone experiencing problems abroad:
If you are faced with illness or other serious difficulties in resort it is important to report this as soon as possible to the local holiday rep 

• Make sure you complete a written complaint form and keep a copy 

• Take photographs and videos to support your complaint and swap contact details with other holidaymakers who have suffered problems 

• If you seek medical help whilst abroad, make sure you get a copy of the doctor's report 

• If your complaint is not addressed, you should write to the tour operator within 28 days of returning to the UK and seek follow up medical treatment for any illness you have suffered 

• If your complaint is not satisfactorily resolved at this stage you may wish to take legal advice from a solicitor specialising in foreign personal injury claims

© 2017 Irwin Mitchell LLP is Authorised & Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Our Regulatory Information.