Norovirus is common on cruise ships. Of more than 40 cruises taken, this was our first experience. We both contracted the virus on our second day out of Southampton, England. My wife received a shot and Imodium; I received only Imodium. My wife was deathly sick for twenty four hours, which she said was the worst pain she has ever encountered including child birth. I was luckier. I suffered only diarrhea, but continued with pains and upset stomach for the entire cruise. She was unable to leave her cabin until the eleventh day of the cruise, when she managed to make the 12-hour bus tour of Paris, since we had never been there and, at age 89, would probably never have another opportunity. All other land excursions were cancelled, except I managed three land excursions, including Normandy, which was the principle reason for taking this cruise. I am a World War II veteran, who served in the South Pacific, but who had lost a friend in the Normandy landing and have one friend still slightly living, who engaged in the landing and whom I had promised I would one day visit.
My wife was to celebrate her 89th birthday on October 28th, which she had to do confined to her cabin. The only food she ate for nine days were steamed baked potatoes, chicken broth and white rice. All amenities were removed from our cabin, including water and water glasses, pillows, books,etc. and were never returned. She attempted the buffet once, but was unable to face any food. Have you ever heard of someone returning from a cruise six pounds lighter?
Celebrity did immediately take action to retard the spread of the disease. Many passengers and crew were inflicted. Everyone was inconvenienced. No One was allowed to serve themselves from the buffet; even coffee had to be served by a gloved employee. Sanitizing devices were everywhere, with employees directing their use. Celebrity cannot be faulted for its action in trying to contain the disease.
But, here ends the praise for Celebrity. Upon disembarkation, we were given a letter saying that there would be credits provided to be applied toward a future cruise. These would be provided to us through our travel agent within thirty days of departure. At the bottom of the letter was written: "Time of Isolation: 24 + 24 hours", which suggested to us that compensation would be applied accordingly.
After 45 days of waiting, we called our travel agent who had heard nothing from Celebrity. While on hold on the phone, the TA called Celebrity, who told them there would be no compensation for that cruise, that the ship had been completely sanitized and there had been no illnesses. Obviously they were talking about another ship or another cruise date!
Exasperated with Celebrity's lack of commitment, I wrote letters on December 11, 2012 and on December 18, 2012, which was six weeks after departing Celebrity Constellation. These were addressed and mailed to Celebrity's Corporate Guest Relations. Neither letter was acknowledged or answered. On December 24th I was able to talk to a human being at Corporate Relations, who said she could find no record of the letters. She did say that we were to be compensated for two twenty four hour confinement periods. I told her that that would be completely unacceptable and that we should be compensated with nothing less than a full replacement cruise, as we basically lost not only the major part of the cruise but also round trip airfare from Florida to England. I said I would fax to her copies of my two letters, which I begged her to read, as they contained complete justification for adequate compensation.
The Fax was sent on December 24, 2012. I received no reply! But, on January 7, 2013, we received a form letter attaching two FUTURE CRUISE CERTIFICATES for $100 each toward a future cruise. I immediately wrote back to the letter's author saying that $100 each for all of the pain and suffering, loss of any long awaited European adventure and lack of food was an insult to our intelligence. Accordingly, the certificates were returned therewith.
We have heard nothing further. Obviously, we shall never sail with Celebrity again!