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If you’re taking a cruise, it’s up to you to take control Another Save My Holiday story...

David and Jackie Greenslade were looking forward to their first ever cruise aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, taking in the Mediterranean islands. After thoroughly researching their options, in all, they paid £3,100 for the all-inclusive, 2 week holiday of a lifetime.

As told to the BBC programme Save My Holiday, David and Jackie were about to join the 1 million people who opted for a cruise holiday in 2010 – but it was not to be the luxury holiday they had hoped for.

Because on its previous cruise the Grand Princess ship had fallen victim to norovirus, the violent vomiting and diarrhoea bug so easily spread by poorly cooked food and the merest contact between passengers. Shockingly, the cruise company knew that the ship was infected by norovirus, but still allowed passengers to board.

And so the Greenslade’s boarded to the sound of a live band and made themselves at home in their lovely, spacious cabin. But, as the ship set sail, they discovered a little added extra to their cabin comforts...

There was a printed letter warning all passengers that their cruise ship had been infected with norovirus on its previous cruise and all passengers were to follow strict hygiene rules throughout the cruise to prevent another outbreak. This, as you’d expect, immediately took the shine off this longed-for cruise and, with the ship set on its course, there was nothing the Greenslades could do except what they were told – to the letter.

They did follow every hygiene rule given, but after just a few days on board David was struck by the norovirus. He had never experienced such a violent illness and Jackie called a nurse to the cabin who administered an anti-sickness drug. The charge? $50 for the nurse call-out and $86 for the medication. When Jackie asked if she might contract norovirus too, she was told by the nurse “you will” – and duly did.

After 7 days of illness David was allowed to leave the cabin, but by this time Jackie was confined as she fought off the norovirus. Between the couple, they spent the best part of their 14 day trip being violently ill in their cabin whilst ‘contamination teams’ in protective clothing came in to clean every single surface.

If you are planning a cruise holiday always check with your cruise liner or travel agent if the cruise ship you are booked to board has had the norovirus bug at any time.

Before you check in for your cruise at the dock, ask again if the ship you are set to board has had the norovirus bug – you should be told the truth and given the option as to whether or not to go on board. Once you have boarded the cruise you may be at the mercy of norovirus – with a long voyage ahead before you can welcome the safety of dry land.

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Dated: 04/02/2011

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