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Norovirus hits cruise ship
3:30pm Wednesday 16th October 2013 in News
MORE than 100 people were taken ill as a bout of norovirus took grip on a cruise ship from Tilbury.
The highly contagious infection, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea, was believed to have been brought aboard the Marco Polo vessel at Copenhagen, when it was seven days into a 12-day cruise of the Baltic cities and St Petersburg.
The ship, which was carrying 770 passengers and 334 crew, was put into lockdown, with the library, one of the bars and the restaurant closed in a bid to prevent the infection spreading.
It is thought 133 people contracted it.
A memo, sent from the ship on October 2, stated “additional preventative measures were immediately introduced and heightened procedures adopted to prevent and eradicate the infection”.
Graham and Margaret Himsworth, of Blackshots Lane, Grays, were on the ship at the time.
They had booked the cruise to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
Mr Himsworth, 74, said: “They knew there was a problem. People were being violently sick. Everyone was concerned.
“It was a cruise for our golden wedding anniversary and the whole thing completely put a dampner on it. Many people are disgruntled.
“This was five days of the cruise which were ruined.”
Mr Himsworth, who forked out £2,100 for the trip, added: “We lived in fear for the rest of the cruise that we would get it.
“It was really quite nasty. But our anniversary was on the 28th and we spent that in St Petersburg, which was wonderful.”
Each cabin was reimbursed £100 for the inconvenience. But Mr Himsworth said: “That didn’t cover it for us. The cruise was completely and utterly ruined.”
The Marco Polo, which is operated by Cruise and Maritime Voyages, left the London Cruise Terminal at the Port of Tilbury on Saturday, September 21.
CMV’s operations director Richard Bastow said: “Cruise and Maritime Voyages very much regret the inconvenience caused to our passengers who were kept fully informed and reminded of the basic hygienic and preventative steps that should be adopted.
“The well-being and safety of all passengers and crew is our highest priority so we took the appropriate measures necessary.”
On returning to Tilbury, the Marco Polo was fully disinfected before it set sail again on a mini-cruise to Ghent and Amsterdam the next day.
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