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Dawn Constable claims after mum Sylvia Pearce contracts norovirus on Boudicca cruise ship

By Claire McWethy

A pensioner’s dream birthday cruise turned into a nightmare when an outbreak of norovirus left her quarantined in her cabin.

Sylvia Pearce was on the Boudicca liner celebrating turning 70 when she was struck down with severe sickness, along with other passengers.

That was several years ago – but like many others, the family has been involved in a legal battle to claim compensation, which has only just concluded.

Dawn Constable and her mother who came down with norovirus on a cruise ship over Christmas.
Dawn Constable and her mother who came down with norovirus on a cruise ship over Christmas.

Sylvia’s daughter Dawn Constable, from East Malling, who was travelling with her, said: “We had not been on the ship very long when people began to become ill.

“The whole experience was an absolute nightmare. We were literally surrounded by passengers who were vomiting on the stairs, in the shop, in the corridor, and in the lounges. It was simply horrendous.”

Her mother had become ill on her birthday, Christmas Eve, and had to be confined to her cabin on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Eventually the cruise was cut short by a day due to the amount of illness on board.
Known as the “winter vomiting bug”, norovirus has symptoms including sickness, diarrhoea, and stomach cramps.

The outbreaks persisted from November 2009 to April 2010, affecting six separate cruises.

Boudicca at Dovers Cruise Terminal
Boudicca at Dovers Cruise Terminal

Mrs Constable, 50, has just received £1,725 in compensation for her loss of enjoyment when the trip, around the Canary Islands and Madeira, was cut short by a day.

Her mother did not file a claim.

Dawn added: “I found out the cruise before ours had been cut short due to illness. Had I been aware of this I would not have gone.

"I firmly believe they did not allow sufficient time to properly clean the ship to eradicate the virus. I believe that it was still on the ship and that it should not have sailed in the first place.”

She was one of 26 passengers to bring a group claim against the operator Fred Olsen, with Your Holiday Claims, , a division of Farnworth Rose Solicitors.

Fred Olsen is paying £42,500 to the victims of the outbreak.

Tracy Stansfield, holiday claims solicitor at Farnworth Rose Solicitors who handled the case, said:“We have now been fighting for our clients for four years, and everybody here at Farnworth Rose Solicitors is delighted that our clients have now received compensation for the very nasty illness that they contracted.”

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