England

Fred Olsen compensation for sick Boudicca cruise ship passengers

The Boudicca
Image caption Fred Olsen said the ship's public toilets and self-service buffets were closed in the event of an outbreak

A cruise operator has agreed to pay £280,000 to 130 passengers who fell ill on one of its cruise ships.

Fred Olsen agreed to the group settlement after holidaymakers suffered gastric illnesses on the the Boudicca between October 2009 and May 2010.

Passengers' symptoms included diarrhoea, vomiting and severe stomach cramps.

Fred Olsen said all its ships met the highest standards of health, safety and hygiene at all times.

Luke and Emma Ryan, from Petersfield, Hampshire, spent Christmas 2009 and New Year with their five-year-old daughter on the ship.

'Once-in-a-lifetime trip'

Mr Ryan, 41, said: "It was a disaster... Instead of opening presents on Christmas morning, I had to be seen by a nurse.

"The cruise was cut short by a day due to the illness and, to be frank, the end could not have come soon enough. We hope this settlement will mean we can now move on with our lives."

Clare Pearson, of law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: "We have heard a range of stories of how so many people's breaks - which were often booked as luxury, once-in-a-lifetime trips to celebrate Christmas, wedding anniversaries and birthdays - were ruined by illness."

A Fred Olsen spokeswoman said: "Unfortunately, from October 2009 to May 2010, there was a higher incidence than usual of gastric illness, also known as norovirus or winter vomiting virus, within communities in the United Kingdom, which is commonly identifiable in areas where people reside in close proximity.

"Most people do not report incidences but on a cruise ship, where movement is restricted, cases are particularly highlighted.

"The health, safety and well-being of all our guests and crew remains our utmost priority at all times, and we believe that our systems for preventing the spread of illness on board our ships are amongst the best within the industry."

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