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Lawyers anticipating Norovirus holiday claims after P&O’s “plague ship” Christmas cruise


Holiday claims lawyers are thought to be receiving scores of calls from passengers who fell ill aboard a 10-day cruise to Baltic Christmas markets on the P&O cruise ship Oriana.

The cruise set off from Southampton on 4 December and passengers allege that symptoms of winter vomiting flu soon started, affecting holidaymakers and staff.

P&O has denied staff were affected, but one holidaymaker allegedly found a steward vomiting in her cabin’s lavatory.

A total of 340 passengers out of 1,843 are though to have been affected by winter vomiting flu – known as Norovirus. P&O has played down the number of those affected and towards the end of the cruise on December 14 said that only six were showing active symptoms of sickness and diarrhoea, after passengers affected had been asked to remain in their cabins to prevent the spread of the illness.

The Oriana is due to be inspected by Southampton Port Authority after docking and P&O has said it will cover passengers’ medical expenses and compensate those confined to their cabins who missed onshore excursions.

However, many passengers are thought to be demanding a full reimbursement of the £1,429 some of the passengers paid.

Many of those on board complained of the stench of vomit on the cruise and nicknamed the liner the “plague ship”.

More cleaners and two nurses were taken on during the cruise as more passengers fell ill.

The Oriana was at the centre of an outbreak of winter vomiting flu in 2009, when a 67-year-old woman died three days after disembarking following treatment for symptoms of Norovirus on board.

Norovirus usually clears up of its own accord after a few days, but symptoms can be severe and cause dehydration – in vulnerable patients with compromised immune systems or the elderly, some cases may be fatal.

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Dated: 17/12/2012