Published On: Fri, Mar 29th, 2024
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Couple’s dream cruise holiday turned into nightmare with horrific virus | Travel News | Travel


A retired couple have told how their ‘once in a lifetime’ cruise to celebrate their wedding anniversary turned into a holiday hell when they both fell ill.

Roy Lanceley, 71, and wife Christine, 69, were struck down by vomiting and diarrhoea just days into their two-week Arctic cruise.

They were so ill they were confined to their cabin for six days on board the Ambassador Ambition, operated by Ambassador Travel.

They needed treatment from the ship’s doctor, who provided medication, including anti-sickness injections.

And when they returned home, Christine was diagnosed with gout because of severe pain in her right foot, caused by dehydration due to contracting suspected norovirus.

The couple, from Greasby, Wirral, have now launched legal action.

Roy, a former quality control inspector, said: “Our dream holiday was completely ruined. It was meant to be a celebration of 47 years together.

“Instead, it was a nightmare we’ll never forget for all the wrong reasons.”

The couple departed Liverpool on July 25 last year, but Roy started to feel unwell at dinner just two days in.

He had to run to the cabin to be sick and lost consciousness for a time before continuing to suffer from sickness and diarrhoea for the next four days.

The onboard medic gave Roy treatment to help with hydration and told him to avoid dairy products.

As he began to improve on the fourth day, Christine became ill with the same symptoms and found herself drifting in and out of consciousness.

Christine, a retired teaching assistant who has previous health conditions including diabetes, COPD, sleep apnoea and arthritis, was given medication and anti-sickness injections.

She was still ill on their return home and consulted her GP who told her she had norovirus.

The couple believe other passengers were quarantined at the same time and many of the facilities on board ship were closed from the start of the cruise, with no explanation given.

Roy added: “We had our doubts from the start. Everything was closed, from the pool and spa, to the bar and the gym, with no explanation.

“We had received an email late on 24 July informing us of a delay in boarding due to ‘operational problems.’

“It was only after we sailed that passengers who had boarded in Belfast told us these ‘operational problems’ were in fact a deep clean.”

Roy said the couple were told fellow passengers had been forced to disembark on the morning of July 25 and spend the day ashore in Liverpool, leading to a four hour delay.

He added: “The official response from Ambassador Travel came via a letter posted under our cabin door on 28 July, informing us of the bug onboard and rules of hygiene to be adopted by all passengers.

“The ship’s public areas were constantly being disinfected with very strong bleach throughout the cruise and given they knew there was a bug going around, we feel this cruise should have been cancelled before it began.

“We’ve never felt so ill and feel lucky to have come out in one piece.

“It isn’t the memory we were expecting to take away with us, after paying for a cruise to see the North Cape and the Land of Midnight Sun.

“Nothing can now change the nightmare we went through but lessons need to be learned from this mess.”

The couple have instructed lawyers from Irwin Mitchell to investigate their illness and help them secure answers over how they fell so ill.

Nadhia Akhtar, the specialist international serious injury lawyer representing the couple, said: “The details Roy and Christine have provided about their cruise experience are concerning.

“Their cases highlight just how serious gastric illnesses can be, particularly on board a ship and they should never be downplayed.

“Such incidents can involve, as in this case, being confined to a cabin and missing out on what was intended to be the experience of a lifetime.

“We’re committed to providing Roy and Christine with the answers they deserve.

“If during our investigation, any issues are identified, it’s vital that lessons are learned to reduce the risk to future travellers.

“We would be interested in speaking to any others who have experienced similar illness on this vessel which will assist us with our investigations.”

A spokesman for Ambassador Travel said: “We acknowledge that a formal complaint has been made by Mr and Mrs Lanceley.

“As this is now a subject to a formal legal process, it is not appropriate for Ambassador Cruise Line to comment at this stage.”



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