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5 July 2013, 17:15
A Hampshire grandfather who spent his birthday on board a cruise ship suffering severe sickness and diarrhoea is suing the travel company over his concerns that not enough was done to protect passengers from falling ill.
David Brown from Lee-on-the-Solent had booked to travel on the Oriana liner with his wife to celebrate his 67th birthday. The cruise took the couple to the western Mediterranean between May 27 and June 9.
But during a trip, which he claims was let down by "poor facilities and the smell of sewage'', Mr Brown a retired director of a motor garage, fell ill on the penultimate day, his birthday.
Mr Brown and his wife have now instructed travel lawyers Irwin Mitchell to seek compensation from P&O Cruises which operate the Oriana.
The firm is currently representing more than 30 clients following two outbreaks of suspected Norovirus on board the Oriana in December last year and March this year.
Mr Brown said:
"We were aware of the previous illness outbreaks in December but thought every step would have been taken to clean the ship and ensure it was safe for future passengers.
"We did notice that the toilets were dirty as we boarded and were later shocked by the strong smell of sewage. At one point our toilet didn't work properly for 24 hours and we had to repeatedly complain to maintenance staff - it was poor and not what we expected from a P&O cruise.
"I fell violently ill with sickness and diarrhoea on my actual birthday and it was horrendous and from speaking to other passengers it seems there were many others who were also ill.
"I am very disappointed that our holiday ended so badly but also concerned for the safety of other passengers. We want answers about what health and safety procedures were carried out after the previous outbreaks and reassurance that improvements have been made to try and prevent anyone else from falling ill.''
Jatinder Paul, a solicitor and expert in illness claims at Irwin Mitchell, said:
"We are concerned to hear that more passengers have fallen ill after travelling on the Oriana
"We are still investigating cases following a sickness outbreak in December last year and more recently, March of this year, and are awaiting information from Carnival, P&O's parent company, about what steps were taken to make the ship safe before allowing more passengers on board on those cruises.
"There are strict health and safety measures to help prevent the spread of illness on cruise ships but the reports we've heard suggest there may have been problems on board.
"We would also now like to hear from anyone else who has travelled on the Oriana as they may have further information that could assist with the case and help bring justice for those affected.''
A spokeswoman for P&O Cruises said they were investigating Mr Brown's claims.