Couple’s dream TUI cruise turns to ‘nightmare’ after ‘vomiting bug sweeps ship’

Three British holidaymakers claim their dream getaway was ruined when they were struck down by serious gastric illness on board TUI's new adults-only cruise ship.

Dawn and Colin Stewart and Linda Cody allegedly suffered symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting and painful stomach cramps on a Marella Cruises journey.

The Stewarts claim they were ordered to stay in their room on board the Explorer 2, which was later hit by allegations of a norovirus outbreak

The couple, who paid almost £3,000 for the Mediterranean cruise, are seeking compensation claiming Colin had to take time off work because he was so unwell when they returned home, ChronicleLive reports.

Dawn and Colin, from Wallsend, North Tyneside,  claim they started suffering stomach cramps, sickness and diarrhoea four days into their £2,980 trip from Naples.

The couple, both 54, allege they fell ill with severe vomiting and diarrhoea, and were told to stay in their cabin.

Dawn said: “This was our first time on a cruise and we were very excited. But the whole experience was awful.

“We were unable to enjoy the majority of our holiday, and when we arrived home on May 1, Colin had to take another two days off his work as a joiner due to being unwell.

“It has really made us think twice about booking another cruise in the future.”

Linda claims she suffered from diarrhoea and stomach cramps six days after boarding the ship with a friend last month, and also had a sore throat and cold sores.

The 64-year-old retiree, from Blyth, Northumberland, claims she was diagnosed with norovirus when she saw her GP after returning home from her £1,300 holiday.

Linda alleges she is still suffering from the effects of the illness has been referred for chest x-ray and blood tests.

She said: “After boarding the cruise ship, it became apparent people were ill.

What is norovirus?

Norovirus is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea, with other possible symptoms including nausea, fever, a headache, and aching arms and legs, the NHS says.

Also known as the "winter vomiting bug", it can be very unpleasant, but it usually goes away in about two days.

The symptoms usually start within one to two days of being infected.

It can be spread very easily from close contact with someone with norovirus, touching infected surfaces or objects and then touching your mouth, or eating food that has been prepared or handled by someone with the illness.

The best way to stop it from spreading is washing your hands frequently with soap and water.

Alcohol hand gels do not kill norovirus.

“Things were so bad that I saw staff occasionally spooning out food to people and handling the glasses, as well as asking people if they had washed their hands and using tissues to open toilet doors. All the pools were also closed off.

“But this clearly wasn’t enough, and I noticed that food was not served hot enough and it was left uncovered for periods of time.

“I booked the cruise a few months ago and I was really looking forward to it, but it was completely ruined because I was so unwell and couldn’t enjoy my time on or off the ship.

“This is not something you expect when you go on holiday; it was meant to be a memorable break, but now I will remember it for all the wrong reasons.”

The Stewarts and Linda have instructed law firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate their claims and allegations of a norovirus outbreak on board the ship just a month after it launched.

A spokesman from TUI said: "We are very sorry to hear of these customers' experiences on Explorer 2.

"As this is now a legal matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further.

"We'd like to reassure customers that we regularly audit all of our cruise ships in respect of health and safety, including hygiene."

The Explorer 2 under went a major refit and launched in April at a gala ceremony in Malaga headed by X-Factor winners Rak-Su.

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