Norovirus is a common illness that can spread among cruise passengers. The confined spaces and large crowds onboard a cruise ship create the perfect setting for this infamous stomach bug to thrive. However, as our cruise passenger lawyers here at Lipcon well know, cruise companies are responsible for maintaining the safety of their passengers, and this includes ensuring that an outbreak of Norovirus is contained before further complications arise among those stricken with the bug.
Although Norovirus itself only lasts a few days, leading to symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps, if victims do not stay properly hydrated, they may suffer from worse complications. And while it may not seem as though Norovirus should raise much concern, the illness has the potential to not only be fatal, especially in elderly victims, but can lead cruise passengers to spend their vacation stuck inside their cabin under quarantine.
A UK family got a first-hand experience last October at just how much a Norovirus outbreak can ruin a cruise vacation. But what the family didn’t expect was to learn that this wasn’t the first time the stomach bug spread through their ship.
UK policeman Mark Jones and his family had been waiting to take a vacation for a long time. Jones spent the summer working at the London Olympics and what should have been a relaxing getaway turned into a nightmare.
Jones booked an 11-day Canary Islands cruise vacation onboard Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas with his wife, Kathryn, and sons, Benjamin, 16, and Ross, 13. The vacation was off to a good start, with the family celebrating Ross’s birthday on first day of the itinerary, but then things began to turn sour on the sixth day of the vacation, when Jones became sick with Norovirus.
“It started about 2 a.m. with vomiting and diarrhea. I felt really rough,” said Jones. “It lasted for about three days and I missed out on the ports in Tenerife and Maderia.”
Kathryn became ill with the gastrointestinal virus on the last day of the cruise, but nonetheless, the family was unable to enjoy their long-awaited for vacation.
Jones explained he and other passengers were given a pamphlet when they boarded the ship about an outbreak of gastric illness, but were not specifically warned that Norovirus was onboard. He was especially worried about his son, who has type I diabetes and any illness can affect his health greatly.
Fortunately the boys managed to avoid getting ill – but that meant keeping them away from their father as much as possible.
Jones was given an injection and medication by a doctor on the ship, but said the illness was “rife” throughout the ship, with yellow magnetic stickers placed on the cabin doors of passengers who were sick.
But as much as their vacation was ruined, the Jones family was even more shocked to learn that this was the fourth consecutive year in which a Norovirus outbreak spread throughout the Independence of the Seas.
The family is now seeking legal counsel, but if this is the fourth consecutive year of Norovirus outbreaks on the Independence of the Seas, other passengers who have fallen ill might also benefit from the help of a cruise passenger lawyer to discuss their options in filing a claim of negligence against Royal Caribbean.
Top Right: Mark & Kathryn Jones – walesonline.co.uk
Bottom Left: Norovirus Quarantine – article.wn.com
Published on February 11, 2013
Categories: Cruise Ship Law