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Hundreds Struck by Norovirus on UK to US Cruise

It has emerged that hundreds of passengers aboard a British cruise ship to North America have been taken ill with norovirus.

There are 919 passengers and over 500 crew members on board the Balmoral. According to health officials from the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC), around 252 of those have been struck with the virus. Around eight members of the crew are also said to be suffering from norovirus, also known as the winter vomiting bug.

The ship, carrying mainly British passengers according to owners Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, set sail from Southampton in the UK on the 16th April, for a five week “Old England to New England” journey to the States.

When the ship docked in Baltimore on 30th April, CDC experts boarded in order to carry out tests on those that were showing signs of illness. The Balmoral docked in Portland on Sunday and is expected to arrive in Saint John, in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, today. Those that are infected with the virus have been instructed to stay inside their cabins.

A statement from Fred Olsen Cruises said:

“Fred.Olsen has been undertaking extensive sanitisation measures and cleaning of the ship, in accordance with its strict illness containment and prevention plan.

“Commonly, the illness abates within one or two days. Those guests who are affected are asked to remain in their rooms during this time – with complimentary room service and in-room entertainment.

“Fred.Olsen is co-operating fully with all the necessary maritime agencies and authorities,‎ as Balmoral continues on her cruise, and will continue to make e‎very effort possible to ensure the safety and well-being of all its guests and crew on board, which is of paramount importance.”

However, this is not the first time that the Balmoral has been hit by a viral outbreak. In May last year, passengers aboard the ship fell ill with the same norovirus and the trip was cut short. In 2010, more than 300 passengers were reported suffering diarrhoea and vomiting when the Balmoral docked in Los Angeles, whilst in 2009 during a cruise around Scotland, over 100 passengers were reported to have been struck with norovirus.

Symptoms of the norovirus include rapid onset of nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea and often last a day or two.

Holiday Illness – Expert Advice

If you have been affected by the norovirus outbreak whilst on board the Balmoral cruise ship and you would like expert advice on this type of case, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

Alternatively, if you have suffered from an illness due to poor hygiene standards whilst on a cruise holiday within the past 3 years, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our expert Travel Law team today for further information.

Please note, if at any stage you have accepted a settlement directly from the cruise provider, or asked to sign a disclaimer, you may be undercompensated and you will be unable to make a claim for compensation.

Sources: BBC News; Sky News

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