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1,389 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From the BBC -

Virus hits 200 on luxury cruise

The Sea Princess will return to the UK one day early
Brian Alder, 61, from Manchester was on holiday on luxury cruise ship when it was hit by a vomiting virus that spread to 200 passengers.
He emailed the BBC News website with the story and soon some of the other 2,000 people on board were also contacting the site.

Their £1,000 seven-day cruise was forced to end a day early. If you have any other story ideas - send them to the BBC using the form at the bottom of the page.

The Sea Princess will return to Southampton on Friday and miss out the intended destination of Lisbon, to allow extra time to disinfect the ship.

A 30% refund has been offered to the 2,258 passengers and Princess Cruises says only 15 people are still sick.

Wendy, 58, from the Midlands, said she had spent five years trying to convince her mother to come on a cruise and now her two parents in their 80s had been very sick for two days.

"Most people on board are fed up and it's put an end to the holiday, although things are carrying on," she said.

It is the most common cause of stomach bugs
Affects 600,000-1m people in the UK each year
It is very easily transmitted by human contact, eating contaminated food or touching contaminated surfaces
Nausea is followed by vomiting and diarrhoea
Outbreaks common in semi-closed environments
Source: Health Protection Agency

The boat departed from Southampton for a seven-night cruise to Guernsey, France, Portugal and Spain.

The virus is suspected to be the Norovirus, which is a common cause of stomach bugs and lasts 48 hours.

Princess Cruises said there had been a smaller outbreak on the last two days of the boat's previous cruise but it does not believe the two outbreaks are linked.

Passengers were informed of the first outbreak when they got to their cabins on Saturday, when a precautionary health notice through their door advised of widespread "Norovirus activity".

But Wendy is outraged passengers were not told before boarding, and given the chance to change plans.

The safety and comfort of passengers and crew is our number one priority

Princess Cruises

"We just don't think Princess Cruises dealt us a fair hand.

"They are decontaminating cabins now but they should have done this before we got on when the ship was empty."

Sick passengers must stay in their rooms for the two-day period of illness, and extra medical staff were joining the ship on Wednesday.

As well as the 30% refund, passengers have been offered a £150 discount on future voyages.

Another passenger, Mr P Wilson, told the BBC News website: "The reaction is that passengers are up in arms at the offer and that Princess are totally responsible for the sanitation of the ship."

At the weekend, 500 passengers had their cruise on board the Van Gogh liner cancelled after more than 100 on a previous cruise fell ill with a stomach virus.

And in 2003, 600 passengers and crew on board P&O's Aurora contracted the same Norovirus.


Premium Member
5,620 Posts
Old news?

Is this a new outbreak, or has the BBC just caught up with the outbreak at the start of the summer? The number infected (200) is the same and is less than 10% of the number of passengers on board. Van Geoff is also mentioned and she had her problems months ago.
The Sea Princess bridge cam gives an image marked "17:19 GMT 6 Sept. At sea to Akureyri, Iceland." The ship is on her way to Canada and New England for the fall season and is not due back to UK until next year.
I think this is another case of media rubbish. Sadly the vast, overpaid, BBC staff are as bad as the rest of the news reporters when it comes to maritime issues.

Fred :mad:

1,389 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·

It would appear to be a return to a very old subject due to "lack of news".

Stand by for updates on the sinking of the Titanic, the capturing of the Graf Spez and how those nasty naval people sank the General Belgrano......good old BBC.

Rushie (Ouch)

Super Moderator
26,580 Posts
I am a bit loathe to comment on this because a few remarks have come my way that have not been complimentary when giving my professional opinion on medical issues. The same goes for nautical terminology.

Leaving vomiting bugs aside for a moment, this article from the BBC perfectly illustrates my concerns that the media are responsible for the demise of nautical terminolgy because in this article they refer to Sea Princess as a boat. Yes, I know we have been down this road before, and I know that many members use the term boat for ships they worked on or whatever. But the big difference is that nautical profesionals know the difference between a ship and a boat even if they use the term as slang. The media don't know this thinking boat is an acceptable term for a cruise or any ship, which is why best part of the population call a ship a boat. Not out of slang, but because they litterally think a ship is a boat. After all, it is printed in the paper, so it must be correct?!.

Back in June, I was at a party with some of the worlds top merchant seamen, naval officers and nautical historians. They all agreed with me that modern day cruising in particular, and the media has crucified some nautical terminology. One former First Sea Lord told me he nearly burst a valve when passengers on a ship he was sailing on was calling everything aboard the ship by shoreside names, the very point I have brought up many times. I am afraid that landlubbers took over the sea long ago, and we can do nothing about it.

As for stomach bugs, it is exactly the same. The stuff I read indicates that the writers are not very knowlegable about medical matters to put it mildly.

As far as I know, none of the outbreaks reported on cruise ships have been confirmed as the Norovirus. It is pure speculation on the part of the media. And we do not know whether these bugs are viruses or bacteria which is very important. Gastroenteritis can be either.

What we DO, know, or rather what my profession know for certain is on a local basis directly from the Health Protection Agency in June 2006 is that deadly bacteria(not viruses)was found in almost 50% of samples taken from restaurants in our communities. Health inspectors visited dozens of pubs, cafes and restaurants and found dirty work surfaces, cloths containing E-Coli, and unclean kitchen tools.

At sea, I have been told by a very good source that one of the cruise ships mentioned found one of the crew members to be a carrier. If you look back at my posts, you will see that back in the 70s, we always traced an outbreak back to a crew member or poor hygiene, never a passenger.

I am still very firmly of the belief that outbreaks aboard cruise ships today could be from the same source. And since cruise ships I have sailed on lately operate a very strict hygiene programme which put hospitals shoreside to shame let alone other eating places, I would be very surprised if it were poor hygiene.

Passengers could bring it aboard, but I very much doubt it. Cold viruses, and other airborne viruses yes, but not this. Yes, some of these stomach bugs are highly contagious such as the Norwalk virus which is spread in a number of ways through contaminated water, food and by contact with objects touched by infected people and contact with infected people.

However, as I have stated in posts before, viruses are different from bacteria or parasites because they are much smaller, and not affected by treatment of antibiotics. But more importantly however, they cannot grow outside the persons body whereas bacteria can live for years outside the host body.

As for bugs aboard cruise ships, ignore some of the stuff you read and just be sensible washing your hands and not be too paranoid about touching something others have. For many years there was total rubbish written about HIV such as catching it from toilets or shaking hands with carriers. The virus, like others is not very robust, does not live outside the host body, and can be killed by soapy water. But at the end of the day you are far more likely to pick up something shoreside than you are aboard a cruise ship. We put our trust in others every day whether it be buying produce from a supermarket, or having a meal out hoping the kitchen is clean, and food not contaminated.

I just wish the media would leave cruise ships alone or at least get their facts right, and find out for certain what bug is causing the problem and from what source. We always found out the source pretty quickly during my day at sea, and in my Lab more latterly when samples sent to us. However, having been critical of the media, the six million dollar question is of course how much do shipping companies tell the media, and indeed us?!. David

11,573 Posts
David, I have always maintained that passengers do not have to learn seafarer's language,thats for member's of the crew,passengers are there for a reason and that is to enjoy their holiday,as you are aware signs are everywhere letting one know where he is and what side of the ship he is on. Now a blind person may have a problem. Old sea dogs will have to get used to modern times.

6,349 Posts

Maybe they should try to toughen up the passengers - Salt water showers, wormy biscuits, tots of grog and a taste of the cat'o'nine tails or a good keel haul!!!

I think that this another example of the inherent dangers of the modern and very large cruise vessels. I agree with the "slow news day" theory too - The BBCs coverage generally sucks and any journalistic teeth it possessed were ripped out when Blair etc emasculated the Corporation and obliged them to show nationalistic propaganda only (Apres the Kelly affair, Hutton report etc.).

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