Rustington duo tell of ‘cruise trip from hell’

Richard and Diane Early. Photo by Derek Martin
Richard and Diane Early. Photo by Derek Martin

HOLIDAYMAKERS from Rustington are taking legal action against a leading travel company after they became seriously ill during a cruise of the Norwegian Fjords.

Richard and Diane Early, of Milton Close, were one of a large number of passengers who were affected by a suspect outbreak of the norovirus during the voyage of the MS Balmoral.

The eight-day cruise was axed a day early so the ship could by sanitised before its next trip.

Mr and Mrs Early, 68 and 67, said their dream holiday had been ‘completely ruined’. The couple both experienced diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

“It was just awful,” said Mr Early, a retired carpenter. “I was so ill that I had to seek medical attention from the medical staff on board the ship.

“No one actually came to see us and we were only contacted by telephone.

“We were so relieved when the cruise finished early as we were both keen to get back home, although we both continued to suffer with symptoms after our return.”

The MS Balmoral was forced to return to Southampton last month, for a deep clean, before heading off to the Azores and Madeira.

Mr and Mrs Early have now instructed personal injury solicitors Irwin Mitchell to investigate the outbreak on board the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines-run ship.

Irwin Mitchell said they had been contacted by ‘dozens’ of other passengers from the cruise.

Amandeep Dhillon, a partner and specialist international personal injury lawyer at the law firm, said: “What is apparent is that many of those affected are continuing to either suffer on-going symptoms, or continue to feel the after-effects of the illnesses they have experienced.”

A spokesperson for Fred Olsen Cruise Lines said: “We are sorry that Mr and Mrs Early have had their cruise holiday impacted in this unfortunate way, and we are endeavouring to reach a settlement directly with them, even though it seems that this illness was brought on board the ship by one guest and was outside our control.”

The cruise company said guests who were ill had been asked to remain in their cabins to minimise contact with other guests.

Fred Olsen stressed it reminded passengers to use hand sanitising gel and to take other precautions while aboard. A spokesman also added that frequent cleaning of all areas of the ship had been carried out.