Each cruise lawyer at our firm has represented several victims of onboard and offshore maritime-related accidents. There are many times in which cruise line companies try to downplay or cover up incidents involving accidents, injuries or sick passengers so as not to take the fall. When someone onboard a ship is hurt or becomes ill, cruise operators have a responsibility to offer them immediate medical attention and if onboard medical staff cannot treat them, the line must see to it that the victim is transported to a close hospital. If this doesn’t happen, the line may be found liable for any complications that ensue.
Recently, one luxury cruise line appears to be minimizing a Norovirus outbreak that passengers claim has overtaken the vessel. According to passengers and other reports, around 400 people onboard P&O Cruises’ Oriana ship have become ill with the virus, but the cruise line is sticking to its original statement that only six passengers became infected with the stomach bug.
The Oriana is currently out at sea on a 10-night Baltic cruise, which departed from Southampton on December 4. A total of 1,843 passengers are onboard the ship, and are due back in home port tomorrow, but not very many passengers are pleased with their vacation. Several passengers have threatened a mutiny onboard, describing the cruise as a “holiday from hell.”
At first, passengers claimed there were around 150 Norovirus victims, but news channels have reported that the figure quickly rose to 400. While passengers seemed adamant about complaining to the cruise line, a P&O spokeswoman explained there had been “a gathering” of passengers to discuss the situation, but she denies it was a “mutiny.”
There have also been reports that several passengers were airlifted from the vessel to seek better medical attention elsewhere, but the line has denied this occurred. The line said passengers who have displayed any symptoms associated with Norovirus, including nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, to report to the ship’s medical centre. Passengers stricken with the stomach virus have also been asked to remain in their cabins until the symptoms pass and to refrain from participating in shore excursions. P&O is providing room service to passengers who are confined to their rooms.
However, for a cruise passenger expecting to visit different ports and enjoy their vacation, being confined to their staterooms is anything but relaxing or pleasant. Meanwhile, P&O claims sanitation protocols have been implemented in order to contain and minimize the spread of Norovirus to other passengers or crewmembers.
“The safety and comfort of passengers and crew is always our number one priority. As is currently standard procedure across our fleet, all the ship’s passengers were provided with a precautionary health notice advising of widespread Norovirus activity and the health measures to avoid contraction and spread, both on board and whilst ashore,” read a statement issued by the cruise line.
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