September 19, 2013
The line's owner Carnival Corp., agreed to pay more than £100,000 to 48 passengers who got sick on Grand Princess on a number of Mediterranean cruises in 2010.
And in a separate incident on Sea Princess cruise in the Caribbean, Princess paid £20,000 to a passenger who contracted Legionnaire's Disease in 2011.
In neither incident did Princess admit liability, both were settled to avoid protracted litigation and lawyers' fees, according to the line.
In the first incident, the 48 passengers were struck down by the gastro-intestinal Norovirus bug on a number of separate cruises in the Mediterranean between April and August 2010.
Elizabeth Tetzner, a specialist travel lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who brought the case, said: "We are delighted for our clients that they have now received a fair settlement from the cruise operator after enduring such terrible times on board the Grand Princess Cruise.
"What is particularly concerning about this case is that it would appear that the ship's staff were clearly aware of the risk of gastric illness because a number of our clients have reported how they were delayed boarding due to a deep clean taking place.
"But despite this we were instructed by over 45 passengers, the majority of whom had all fallen ill during a four month period.”
Princess issued the following statement: "We can confirm this matter was settled on commercial grounds to avoid disproportionate claimant lawyers' costs, without any admission of liability by Princess Cruises.
"Southampton Port Health Authority's report into this matter stated they were very pleased with our response to Norovirus on board and every attempt to prevent and control the spread was implemented to the best of the crew's ability. No breaches of best practice were found.
"Norovirus is the most common cause of stomach bugs in England and Wales and according to Public Health England is second only in prevalence to the common cold. Outbreaks can occur in areas such as schools, hospitals, hotels and other places where people congregate.
"All our ships have stringent ongoing cleaning and hygiene policies in place as a part of normal on board operations and if an outbreak occurs it is normally because a passenger has brought the virus on board unwittingly. In such circumstances, we always implement comprehensive disinfection protocols, developed in conjunction with UK and international health authorities."
In the second incident, John Whiley, 63, took action against Princess after claiming he contracted Legionnaire's disease onboard.
However, this is disputed by Princess, which issued this statement: "There was no proof to show that Mr Whiley picked up the illness whilst on board the ship rather than in one of the many ports of call or elsewhere, but the case was settled to avoid protracted litigation, without Princess admitting liability.” --by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor