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Man on cruise from hell' gets his money back

PUBLISHED: 15:59 22 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:58 25 August 2010

A PENSIONER said he was surprised to get a full refund after returning from the cruise from hell . Douglas Walters of Hatherley Crescent, Sidcup, was on a £2,299 British cruise on board the Marco Polo liner when approximately 400 passengers and crew we

A PENSIONER said he was surprised to get a full refund after returning from the "cruise from hell".

Douglas Walters of Hatherley Crescent, Sidcup, was on a £2,299 British cruise on board the Marco Polo liner when approximately 400 passengers and crew were struck down with the winter-vomiting virus norovirus.

More than 750 passengers were kept in the dark when they were prevented from disembarking the liner at Invergordon on the Cromarty Firth, where they eventually spent three days.

Now all passengers have been promised a refund by Operators Transocean Tours of Bremen and offered a 50 per cent discount on another cruise.

Mr Walters, who received his refund last Monday said the first he heard of the outbreak was when the brother of a friend on the boat told them.

He said: "He said 'where are you? There are people sick on your boat and one of them is dead.'

"It was like a cruise from hell. It was diabolical."

He added: "People on either side of my cabin were ill. .Seven people were admitted to hospital.

"At the first port we went into town by mini bus. One person sick in the toilet at the local museum and they had to shut it down. Two more were sick in the high street. One was sick in the mini bus.

"When local people found out they were angry and said they don't want sick people wandering about. And I don't blame them."

As the outbreak intensified, Mr Walters witnessed more and more of his fellow passengers suffering from the vomiting virus but he managed not to catch it.

One passenger, who according to a post mortem had heart and chest problems, died on board as a result of the illness.

A statement from Transocean Tours read: "The investigation into the virus outbreak that has affected this cruise is still ongoing and, at this time, its cause remains unknown.

"However, without prejudice to those issues and after due consideration, it is advised that as a gesture of goodwill, you will receive, via your tour operator, an ex-gratia payment in full compensation of the full amount of your cruise fare."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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