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Hundreds hit by vomit bug on Norway cruise

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Hundreds hit by vomit bug on Norway cruise
The Balmoral cruise ship docked in Messina, Sicily. Photo: Cruise Timetables
15:15 CEST+02:00
A luxury cruise of the Norwegian fjords had to head back the UK a day early after ‘hundreds' of passengers were struck by severe vomiting and diarrhoea, the UK's Daily Mail newspaper has reported.
According to the paper, the passengers, who had paid between  £799 and £1,649 each, started to become ill within hours of  the Balmoral cruise ship leaving the docks. 
 
“It was absolutely horrendous. Dreadful. I was in a terrible state. I felt it was never going to end,” retired engineer John Trownson, 86, from Penryn in Cornwall, told the paper. 
 
A nurse on the boat, he said, had told him that the bug was a particularly virulent version of the Novovirus stomach flu, predicting it would take about four days for him to recover.
 
Norway's Fred Olsen company, which owns the ship, declined to confirm Trownson's estimate that as many as 300 passengers had been struck by the vomit bug. 
 
“Fred Olsen Cruise Line's policy not to disclose details of or the number of guests who have been affected by or treated for a medical condition at any of their cruise,” a spokesperson told the paper. 
 
The company has offered to refund the cost of one day of the cruise, and give affected passengers a 50 percent discount on future cruises, partial compensation that did not satisfy Trownson. 
 
“I want a full refund. I didn't have the cruise I paid for,” he told the paper. 
 
Rus Donaldson, who became ill on Sunday morning along with his wife, told the BBC  that refunding one day's cruise should not count as compensation for the bug given that the ship had actually returned one day early.
 
"An offer of up to 50 percent off a future cruise to Norway comes with a page of restrictions, and as if anyone would ever risk repeating the same scenario. No-one would want to take up that offer."
 
Fred Olsen cruises passengers have been hit by stomach infections in the past with some 214 passengers falling ill on the Boudicca, Balmoral's sister ship over three separate periods in 2009-2010, March and April 2011, and on a 10-night Scandinavian cities cruise in 2013. 
 
“Gastroenteritis, which is more contagious than the common cold, is spread very easily by contact with surfaces and from person to person, and is particularly prevalent during periods of cold weather,” a spokesman said. 
 
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