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Spending Christmas on board the cruise ship ‘Thomson Spirit’ in 2013 was meant to be a dream holiday for Solihull couple Susan Hodges and Jonathan Owen, but the cruise which was meant to be plain sailing soon turned into a nautical nightmare for the pair.
After they had boarded, the common cruise ship bug known as ‘norovirus’ hit and Susan, 46, ended up being treated in a Tenerife hospital and confined to her cabin on-board the ship whilst suffering from agonising stomach cramps, sickness and diarrhoea.
“Being so far from home, feeling isolated and trapped and receiving such little support from the ship staff was really distressing.” Susan said, “Jonathan was forced to stay in the cabin on the cruise with me.”
“We knew of other people who seemed to be suffering from the same illness too. I was given medication on-board the ship in the form of anti-sickness injections, paracetamol and rehydration fluids.”
“It wasn’t until I went to hospital in Tenerife that I was prescribed medication which really helped alleviate some of the symptoms.” She added.
Susan even suffered from the illness weeks after landing back in the UK, ruining the rest of the festive period for her: “Our Christmas was ruined, as I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the house for a meal. I want to understand more about how I came to become so unwell and whether more could have been done to prevent my illness.”
Susan and her partner Jonathan claim that some food on-board the Thomson cruise liner was undercooked and served to them at a lukewarm temperature. The pair have also accused cruise ship crew of not using the hand sanitisers despite numbers of other people falling ill on-board.
A Thomson Cruise spokesman said: “We are sorry to hear of Ms Hodges and Mr Owen’s experience on board the Thomson Spirit. The ultimate priority for Thomson Cruises is the health, safety and comfort of all our customers. We operate stringent health and hygiene procedures in line with industry standards.”
Norovirus and other viruses are frequent on cruise ships as the sheer amount of people confined together within public and frequently-used spaced on the vessels mean that germs can spread easily.
Reduce your chances of contracting the nasty bugs by washing your hands frequently, using the hand sanitisers which are stationed around the ship and avoiding food which looks like it has been out on display for a long time. If something is undercooked, you are well within your right to send it back. Be aware that places like lifts, staircase railings and the railings at the side of the ship have probably been touched by lots of people before you.
Take out cruise travel insurance from Holidaysafe, and you can also be sure that you won’t end up out of pocket from any medical expenses you incur on-board or onshore as a result of your illness.Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices.
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