Cruise liner hit by vomiting bug
A luxury cruise liner run by Ipswich-based Fred Olsen has been hit by three outbreaks of the winter vomiting bug in a month with more than 500 passengers affected.
IPSWICH: A luxury cruise liner run by Ipswich-based Fred Olsen has been hit by three outbreaks of the winter vomiting bug in a month with more than 500 passengers affected.
A total of 519 passengers have fallen ill with norovirus during three cruises on the Boudicca in December - despite the company claiming it was deep-cleaned in between each outbreak.
On the latest 15-night cruise to the Canaries, 289 of the 795 passengers were diagnosed with the stomach bug prompting the ship to return to Portsmouth on Monday, a day earlier than planned.
A spokeswoman for the company said the early return was to allow three intensive days of deep-cleaning, before it set sail again on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Fred Olsen has denied that the deaths of three people who died during the last cruise were connected to the virus.
During the first bout of the illness on a 12-day cruise to the Canaries, which set sail from Portsmouth on December 6, 180 of the 800 passengers on board fell ill.
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Following a deep-clean upon its return on December 18, the 28,000-tonne ship set off on a four-day mini cruise to Amsterdam free from the virus, but during the cruise 50 of the 827 passengers were struck down by the bug.
The spokeswoman said when it returned to port in the UK another intensive deep-clean was carried out to try to halt the spread of the highly contagious illness.
Norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis causing vomiting and diarrhoea, affecting up to one million people in the UK each year.
The spokesman said: “It is a very short-lived illness, which lasts between one and two days for most people.
“It is extremely unpleasant bug which is easily passed from person to person, especially at New Year - a time when people are all celebrating and hugging one another.”
She said passengers would be refunded for returning from the cruise a day early.
The latest outbreak is the seventh in the last year to affect one of the company's fleet of cruise liners.