The 25 passengers travelled on five different sailings on Independence of the Seas between December 2010 and June 2011.
According to Wales Online, complaints from the 25 passengers include flies in their bathrooms, a waiter blowing his nose on a napkin that was then placed on a table, poor cabin cleaning, dirty cutlery and undercooked food.
The claim further details how Royal Caribbean failed to remedy the outbreak by adopting adequate cleaning and sanitation, or greater control in the preparation of food and drink.
Those who became ill, the report says, also complained there were not enough medical staff to help those in isolation, meaning long waits for visits from the doctor, and medical staff failed to follow hygiene procedure such as washing hands and wearing gloves.
Norovirus is one of the most common illness next to the common cold, and is highly contagious, spreading easily in confined spaces like hospitals, hotels, dormitories and cruise ships. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, and millions are infected each year.
Royal Caribbean points out in a statement provided to Cruise Critic that 67,000 guests sailed on Independence of the Seas between the dates specified, mainly without incident, and even of the 25 making a claim, not all fell ill. Those that did fall ill, the statement continues, responded to the medication they were given and were not therefore referred for further treatment by the ship's medical team.
Regarding the breaches of hygiene detailed in the claim, the statement says: “Our crew conducted extensive cleaning on-board the ship and guests were kept up to date on these additional measures prior to embarkation and throughout their cruise. Guests were also provided with advice and information on preventative steps and good hygiene, including hand washing and making use of hand sanitizers that we provided throughout the ship.”
Experienced cruisers are usually philosophical about norovirus and there are numerous discussions on the Cruise Critic message boards about its cause and control.
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--by Sue Bryant, U.K. Contributing Editor