Cruise couple’s legal bid over norovirus ‘nightmare’

George and Norah Gowans. Picture: Contributed

George and Norah Gowans. Picture: Contributed

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A couple have spoken of the sickness and terror they endured on a “nightmare” cruise that has prompted almost 100 passengers to take legal action.

Passengers are taking legal action after cruises on board Thomson’s Island Escape ship last year were ruined by gastric illness – the fourth year in six that the lawyers have received complaints about the ship.

Expert travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have issued legal proceedings after being contacted by passengers who travelled on board the all-inclusive cruise liner between March and November 2013 after the firm failed to admit liability.

The cruise ship offers trips around the Mediterranean and the current claimants include a couple who were celebrating their honeymoon, a couple celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary and a couple celebrating a 60th birthday.

George and Norah Gowans, of West Calder, had gone on the cruise to celebrate their birthdays and said they both contracted the norovirus near the end of their cruise.

Grandfather Mr Gowans, 62, who owns a property company and a caravan storage park in West Lothian, said: “We became extremely ill and Thomson’s attitude was that nothing had happened. Nobody accepted any responsibility.

“The medical centre was so busy that no-one was able to see my wife until 24 hours later.

“It was so bad that about 50 people got off at Livorno because they didn’t want to stay on the ship. It was horrendous, a nightmare cruise.”

The couple said they were offered a voucher worth £100 off their next holiday with Thomson, which Mr Gowers described as “derisory” and “insulting”.

Mr Gowers said the couple had continued to suffer after returning from holiday and insisted that only compensation would settle the matter.

He added: “They have not accepted responsibility for their actions and there has been no apology and no information.” 
A Thomson spokeswoman said: “The ultimate priority for our Island Cruises is the health, safety and comfort of all our customers. We operate stringent health and hygiene procedures.

“Island Cruises took over 35,000 passengers on holiday in 2013 and the vast majority had no complaints.”