Norfolk couple's honeymoon cruise disaster

Richard BatsonA newlywed couple are angry and seeking extra compensation after their honeymoon cruise turned into a floating hell as a sickness bug swept through the ship.Richard Batson

A newlywed couple are angry and seeking extra compensation after their honeymoon cruise turned into a floating hell as a sickness bug swept through the ship.

Margaret and Russell Moore of Bacton planned their wedding around a cruise to the Canary Islands - even postponing their reception until after the trip, so they could dash away from the wedding to catch their liner in Southampton.

But just two days into the �2,000 voyage Russell was taken ill, as the bug struck down scores of the 1,100 people on board the Boudicca, run by Ipswich-based Fred Olsen.

"It was awful. He had bad stomach cramps and a temperature. A doctor had to come and give him an injection, and we were confined to our room for 48 hours.

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"They did let us off at Madeira, but Russell was so weak he could only walk a little way and we had to sit in the harbour," said Mrs Moore, of the Keswick Hotel, who was unwell but not as badly as her husband.

"Parts of the ship, including the jacuzzi and casino, were closed while they did a deep clean. You could smell the illness."

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The couple were looking forward to the honeymoon after three years of running their hotel "16 hours a day, 24-7" said Mrs Moore.

The departure was delayed for a day while the ship was cleaned after a similar outbreak on a New Year cruise, but �150 worth of compensation was mostly swallowed up by having to book a hotel for another night, added Mrs Moore who has become a focal point for other passengers seeking claims, and wants to get assurances from Fred Olsen that procedures will be tightened up to stop a recurrence.

Another Norfolk couple, grandparents Michael and Marie Bridge, from Barford, also suffered on the trip - spending five days confined to their cabin.

Mr Bridge, 70, was violently ill for three days and his wife, 69, for another two days.

She said: "It was horrendous. We feel that we have spent a lot of money to be made ill and wretched.

"We missed all the shore trips except Lanzarote and the only views we had of the Canaries and Madeira were the concrete harbour wall from the port-hole."

The couple were compensated for losing a day from the shortened cruise, and given �100 each extra as spending allowance.

A spokesman for Fred Olsen Cruise Lines said that with record numbers of people suffering from winter vomiting virus, it was understandable that cruise ships would have some passengers on board carrying it.

"Everything possible that could be done, was done to eliminate the virus during the cruise," she said.

Every ship in the fleet followed strict set of procedures if there was evidence of a gastro-like virus, and port health authorities were all "completely satisfied with the standard of operation and sanitisation on each of our vessels."

The maximum number of passengers confined to cabins at any one time was 88, and there was no virus on the Boudicca's current cruise.

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