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Christmas cruise turns into suspected Norovirus nightmare

Passengers on a 10-day cruise round the Baltics to visit Christmas markets have been confined to their cabins on board P&O’s Oriana cruise liner.

Around 340 passengers are currently suffering from winter vomiting flu on board the Oriana, and some have complained that the ship now has a stench of vomit – one holidaymaker claims to have spent £1,000 on medical bills after falling ill and being treated by the Oriana’s doctor.

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Passengers say they have been asked to remain in their cabins on board the Oriana – and have been blamed for falling ill with the illness through not being “clean enough”.

The cruise liner’s management has also allegedly claimed that no staff on board have fallen ill with winter vomiting flu – although a holidaymaker has claimed she found one of the stewards onboard vomiting in her cabin bathroom.

One of the passengers on board is said to be a viral specialist who says the ship should not have sailed for 48 hours and should have undergone been cleaning.

The cruise liner took on extra cleaners at Copenhagen and more nurses at Amsterdam and is due to dock in Southampton. More sick bags have reportedly also been supplied on board.

P&O’s parent company Carnival said that all medical expenses would be covered – but passengers are demanding a refund of the £1,429 they spent on the Christmas markets cruise.

Southampton Port Authority is due to carry out a full inspection of the cruse liner when it docks.

In 2009, a 67-year-old passenger who contracted Norovirus on board the Oriana died three days after the ship docked at Southampton.

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A spokesperson for Carnival said of the current outbreak:

“There has been an incidence of a mild gastrointestinal illness among the passengers on Oriana.

This illness is suspected to be Norovirus, which is highly contagious and typically transmitted from person to person.

“Enhanced sanitation protocols have already been implemented to help minimise transmission to other passengers.”

Winter vomiting flu is a highly infectious viral illness causing severe symptoms of sickness and diarrhoea, which potentially can be deadly in vulnerable patients. A passenger on board the Oriana said:

“It's been a shambles from start to finish – passengers became ill almost immediately we set sail and the outbreak swept like wildfire throughout the ship.

“Feelings have been running high and people are pretty mutinous.”

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Dated: 13/12/2012


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