As our cruise injury attorneys have been well aware, there have been an extremely high number of Norovirus outbreaks this year. Due to their confined spaces and large number of travelers, cruise ships can be the perfect breeding grounds for the virus to spread. While Norovirus symptoms typically only last a few days, those who become ill may experience uncomfortable stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting and may also become severely dehydrated. In the event that passengers or crewmembers become sick with Norovirus to the point that they experience severe symptoms, they may be entitled to compensation, especially if the cruise line is at fault for the spread of the disease or if the vessel’s medical staff did not address the symptoms sufficiently.
Because there have been several Norovirus outbreaks in the past year, cruise travelers may actually be getting their money back for their vacations. Passengers who have become ill during any of the three outbreaks of Norovirus aboard Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas may be compensated for their pain and suffering as well as their lack of enjoyment because of the illness.
Over the past 10 months, hundreds of passengers aboard the Voyager of the Seas have been affected by the highly contagious Norovirus, also known as the stomach flu. Five guests who had been booked on the vessel, which docked in Auckland, New Zealand on Wednesday morning, were not allowed to disembark because they showed symptoms of the virus. Around 135 passengers on an itinerary aboard Voyager of the Seas last week also fell ill with Norovirus while traveling from Wellington to Sydney.
According to Adam Armstrong, commercial director of Royal Caribbean International, passengers who fell ill may be compensated on a case-by-case basis. Armstrong did not address how much passengers will be reimbursed, but at least guests will be able to get some percent of their cruise fare back for being sick during their vacations.
Although he noted that some passengers may be compensated, Armstrong defended the ship’s hygiene standards, saying he is confident the Voyager of the Seas maintains the highest international hygienic and safety standards. He added that Norovirus is a common problem on cruise ships and said that the doctor onboard the vessel will continue to monitor the situation.
The Voyager of the Seas is expected to visit Tauranga, Napier and Dunedin before returning to Sydney next week. There is no telling how many more people will become ill with Norovirus, but all passengers and crewmembers should take care to wash their hands constantly never leave their cups or plates of food unattended so as to avoid contamination from another infected person.
PHOTO CREDIT: peoriacounty.org