The U.K.'s Daily Echo reports today that twenty-five ill cruise passengers (and their family members) who sailed aboard the Independence of the Seas filed a lawsuit against the Miami based cruise line, Royal Caribbean Cruises, claiming that the dirty ship conditions and unsanitary galley and food led them to become ill.
The newspaper states that in addition to the unsanitary shipboard conditions, the Royal Caribbean cruise ship had insufficient medical facilities and staff to deal with disease outbreaks during cruises.
The lawsuit is described in the newspaper article as including complaints of "flies in their bathrooms, a waiter blowing (his) nose on a napkin that was then placed on a table and an outbreak of illness so severe there were often ambulances waiting for passengers in the ports they visited."
There is no mention where the lawsuit was filed or the name of the passengers' lawyers, but it appears that the case was filed in England. The passengers are seeking £500,000 in compensation from the cruise line. The Independence of the Seas sailed from Southampton England.
The affected passengers sailed on five different cruises over the course of a seven month period from December 2010 through June 2011. In the U.S. courts, cruise lines like Royal Caribbean have successfully enforced a one year limitations period. There appears to be a longer limitations period in which to file suit in the U.K.
Royal Caribbean denied the allegations of under-cooked food and poor galley hygiene, stating that it delivered “extremely high” health standards for its guests. During the time period in question, "the ship, Independence of the Seas, sailed on 15 cruises, welcoming over 67,000 guests."
Although the cruise line is down-playing the allegations, the fact of the matter is that Royal Caribbean had a problem with norovirus on this cruise ship notwithstanding its attempts at "enhanced cleaning." It should be pointed out that if the cruise line really carried some 67,000 passengers in this six month period, it collected well over £100,000,000 as well.
The last norovirus outbreak we reported on which occurred on the Independence of the Seas was in March 2012.
The cruise lines always blame the passengers for not washing their hands, but there is far more to the story than pointing the finger at the guests. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), whereas "person to person" transmission of norovirus has been documented, "norwalk gastroenteritis is transmitted by the fecal-oral route via contaminated water and foods."
The FDA also indicates that contaminated water is one of the most likely causes of norovirus. The FDA reports that "water is the most common source of outbreaks and may include water from municipal supplies, well, recreational lakes, swimming pools, and water stored aboard cruise ships."
Consider a couple of our articles regarding this subject:
Cruise Ship Norovirus - Clean the Damn Toilets!
Cruise Ship Bathrooms, Norovirus and Medical Care
It will be interesting how this case turns out!
Drawing - Maxim Magazine
Independence of the Seas - Echo Daily