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Norovirus Cruise: Did you catch it?

Life ring on cruise ship | Shine Lawyers

You’ve decided on a cruise. You’ve saved up for this vacation because it’s going to be a special one for you and your significant other. Not long into your trip you’re struck down with vomiting and diarrhoea, and you remain cabin-bound for the remainder of your holiday.

As unwanted as this may be, there have been incidents occurring on cruise ships affecting large numbers of passengers and crew. Most recently, the Sun Princess cruise ship. The main culprit is Norovirus, a highly contagious virus that spreads rapidly in closed environments – like those on a cruise ship.

What is the norovirus?

The norovirus is actually a strain of virus named after an outbreak in Norwalk Ohio back in 1972. It’s quite common in our everyday environment, but when it occurs aboard a cruise ship it gets much more publicised.

The first thing you need to know is; did you catch it before you got aboard? If you were healthy with no bouts of diarrhoea or vomiting prior to walking up the gangplank, then it’s likely you got it aboard ship.

The next question is; did you catch it from another passenger or crewman? The virus can survive on hard surfaces for quite a while, so it could have been waiting for you to catch it for a while.

If you see or hear of other people vomiting on board you should be asking when did the cruise line became aware of the virus or was the cruise line already aware there was a problem aboard ship?

If so, what steps did the management and crew take to eliminate the problem? This is key to any issue of liability on the part of the cruise line.

Who the claims are made against

If you’re aboard an excursion cruise around Australia or down to Tasmania, you look to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) for possible compensation. If you were sailing to an international port of call, including New Zealand and Vanuatu, you would look to the Athens Convention (Athens) for compensation.

Depending upon the circumstances you might claim under Athens or the ACL. Given the legal cost involved most people try to fight it out on their own to get some compensation for a trip they believe was ruined.

A vacation away from it all should never involve being locked away in a room no matter how stately it may be. If you or someone you know was affected by the norovirus on a recent cruise, you should seek legal advice.

Written by Shine Lawyers on . Last modified: November 10, 2017.

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  • Cheryle spencer wrote:

    I contacted the nova virus aboard the Sun princess in July 2015 on a cruise to Hawaii.
    We claimed all my medical expenses with our insurance but I’m still waiting to return to Hawaii to see the islands that I was too sick to get off ship to see
    Rumour has it that the ship was very close to being quarantined due to amount of people who were ill

  • Elaine Hilliard wrote:

    We can tell you that we did not get the Norovirus but we had worse than this we had INFLUENZER B yes B . Check the internet!.
    We could not make the next cruise because of this which has been a big issue in our health since.
    Would like to know how many of the 500 who attended the sick bay during the November cruise around Australia last year had INFLUENZER not the norovirus as stated?

  • Ezio Angelo Visintin wrote:

    My wife and I had boarded the MV Sun Princess on the 9 December 2017 for a 13 day cruise around New Zealand and the Stayed on the ship in the same cabin B233 for the Christmas and New years Cruise to Vanauatu for another 13 days . It was on the last day when our toilet in our cabin was not working for quite some time and notified the Customer service desk onboard(Pursers Office) the delay in retifiying the non funtioning toilet in our cabin caused distress that my wife and i was force to use the public bathroom facilities around the ship on the final sea day, in doing so and useing a toilet on deck 8 midships that i experienced stomach cramps and no formed stools causeeing bowel movements consistant with dieorea and the sweating , dehydration and headaches for some 24 hours after leaving the ship and for some days afterwards, whilst home I was bed ridden for some 5 days from Thursday 4 January 2018 to Monday 8 January 2018 and taking a coarse of antibiotics to reduce the infection and fever caused, my wife had contracted the illness from me whlst careing for me is there a case/class action for this too!

    • Shine Lawyers wrote:

      Sorry to hear about yours and your wife’s experience Ezio. I would encourage you to contact our New Client Team as while your trips aren’t currently part of the class action investigation, you may have an individual claim. Here are our contact details: ~Steph.

  • Robert S Johnson wrote:

    Tried to claim my medical expenses from my travel
    insurance however the insurance company would
    only refund any claim exceeding $250.00 and my claim was for $183.40

  • Geoff Schleehauf wrote:

    I contacted nora virus on the New Zealand cruise the morning we were due to dock at Wellington. This was confirmed by the medical section on board and I was confined to my cabin. I was clear to go ashore at Napier. There were other issues with over flowing toilets in our cabin and the carpets were still wet when we disembarked. My mattress on my bed was very old and had holes torn in the sides of it. I have photographs of it and the bed that I made up on the floor prior to the toilet overflow and getting the mattress replaced. I also have a copy of the letter that I forwarded to the cruise company.

    • Shine Lawyers wrote:

      Sorry to hear about your experience Geoff. If you were looking to make a claim against the cruise company we might be able to help. Contact our New Client Team who will be able to get more details from you about your trip and put you in touch with our Transport Law experts if we are able to assist. You can find our details here: ~Steph.

  • Mary kelly wrote:

    I also contracted the novovirus whilst on the Sea princess during an 81 day cruise from Sydney around South America from January 2017 to April 2017. Not only was I very unwell and unable to leave my cabin or the ship for three days but I also got badly ‘burnt’ from the bleach that was used to clean the cabin by the ship staff . They did come and sanitise the toilet but didn’t warn you not to use it for an period . I had uncomfortable ‘burns ” on the top of my legs for around two weeks . The company didn’t at any time offer any apology or compensation . The outbreak was very significant and prolonged . The captain did implement changes to contain the outbreak but it was a long time before it was under control .

    • Shine Lawyers wrote:

      Sorry to hear about your experience Mary. If you wanted to provide more details about your trip to our New Client Team they’ll be able to let you know if we’re able to help with a claim. You can find our contact details here: ~Steph

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