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Norovirus outbreak raises concerns for travellers

A leading travel industry lawyer says the news that hundreds of passengers on a British cruise ship docked in the US have fallen ill with norovirus raises concerns for thousands of others booked on cruise holidays this year.


10 May 2016

Clare Campbell from law firm Leigh Day in Manchester was commenting after the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said 252 of the 919 passengers on board the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Balmoral cruise ship had fallen ill with the stomach virus.
The Balmoral docked in Portland Maine on Sunday after leaving Southampton on April 16th. Most of those on board are British according to a statement from the ship’s owners.
Said Clare Campbell, “It is disturbing to note that there appears to be a significant increase in the number of ships reporting norovirus this year. According to statistics 11 cruise ships have reported outbreaks in 2016 already as opposed to 15 in 2015. If this trend continues (and we are just coming in to the main cruise holiday season) the figure could be treble that oflast year.”
She puts the reason for the increase down to a number of factors, including increased competition in the sector leading to reduced prices and possible cuts in service/hygiene standards as cruise-lines try to reduce costs. In addition she points to a reluctance of owners to temporarily de-commission ships in order to undergo complete cleaning and sanitization. The temptation she says is to keep them sailing at all costs.
Said Ms Campbell, “Cruise holidays have never been so popular, with tens of thousands of holidaymakers due to board this year. I sincerely hope the industry recognises the problems it faces and takes all the steps necessary to protect passengers.”
She added, “Anyone unfortunate enough to  suffer illness on-board should keep a record of how long they were ill for, record their illness with the cruise management on-board, note what medication they took/were prescribed and if possible take photographic/video evidence of poor hygiene standards and practices.”

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