Will you sue the travel agent if you fall prey to norovirus while on a cruise holiday?

Published on : Monday, June 15, 2015

NorovirusIt will be quite a weird scenarios if someone sues a Travel Agent or a Tour Operator for catching a cold or Flu on holiday, but it can happen. The ‘Common Cold’ – or, to give it its proper name, ‘Rhinovirus’ or ‘Coronavirus’ – and Flu are contagious. We have all caught them by being in close proximity to someone who has it in the workplace, or at home. You could just as easily catch it on holiday from a fellow guest. Should Flu mean that you are laid up in your hotel bed for a couple of days, I doubt that you would blame the hotel, your Tour Operator or Travel Agency, let alone sue them!



So, why do cruise customers feel that it is appropriate to try to take action against cruise lines when they pick up another common virus – Norovirus? Whilst gastric illness is unpleasant, the principles are the same as with the Common Cold and Flu – they are viruses. They are all passed from person-to-person and from the surfaces that a person touches. But Norovirus is far more virulent. It may be more contagious than the Common Cold and spreads very easily, but it is a virus, just like the others.



Some newspapers and lawyers would have you believe that Norovirus is found only on cruise ships. It is not. Others falsely believe that, because it is a stomach bug, the source must be food or food preparation. Not the case. The only illness more common than Norovirus is – you guessed it – the Common Cold. There are around 267 million cases of Norovirus worldwide each year. It spreads in any community, whether that be schools, libraries, hotels, army barracks or, indeed, hospitals. That’s right: last year in England and Wales, 676 hospitals experienced outbreaks of Norovirus. A hospital, with all its doctors, nurses and staff, still can’t stop such a contagious illness – yet for some inexplicable reason, a cruise line is expected to succeed where medical professionals cannot? Notably, Norovirus also only tends to be highlighted in places where there is a medical centre on hand to monitor and record reported cases – such as on a cruise ship.



Fortunately, cruise lines have very high standards of hygiene and do an outstanding job of containing outbreaks – as is acknowledged by many of our guests, who commend our extremely comprehensive plans and procedures. Cruise lines devote a huge amount of time and resource into raising awareness of Norovirus and the importance of personal hygiene. Even so, there are occasions when the virus cannot be stopped – most notably when guests do not ‘own up’ to any symptoms when boarding (all Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ guests have to sign a declaration stating they have not been ill within the last 48 hours). That said, as symptoms are not physically evident until 12 to 48 hours after catching the virus, there are times when some cruise guests may be innocently unaware that they are carrying the virus on board.


Source:-Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

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