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Bad Press for Queen Victoria

Mar 1, 2008
The much touted and aggressively marketed cruise ship Queen Victoria seems to have hit rough waters.

Superstitious vacationers couldn't help but murmur predictions of doom when the customary champagne bottle with which she was christened before her maiden voyage failed to shatter. Despite this, it appeared she would avoid the fate of the Titanic after all.

Last December, however, three weeks into her life on the water, passengers on the luxury liner took ill in droves. The Queen Victoria appeared to have been hit with the dreaded cruise ship virus known as Norwalk or Norovirus.

An estimated 80 passengers spent thousands of dollars only to spend much of their holidays confined to bed. The effects of the virus do not usually cause any lasting damage. However, it hits hard and furious, causing severe vomiting and diarrhea for anywhere from 1-3 days. It is also highly contagious and easily transmitted, especially in close and confined quarters, such as one finds on a cruise ship.

Although fewer than 5% of the ship's passengers were hit with the dreaded cruise ship bug, many of those who were stricken plan to sue for compensation - whether or not they can launch a successful lawsuit is questionable.

Cruise ships hit with stomach viruses is not a new phenomenon. It has proved very difficult in the past to sue a cruise ship company for compensation for contracting an illness from a contagious virus.

Most travel agencies that book cruises have clauses that release them from liability for circumstances such as the contraction of a virus while cruising. The cruise ship companies themselves usually cannot be held responsible unless proof is provided that negligence on the part of staff led to the outbreak.

Nevertheless, many cruise ship companies offer some type of compensation to passengers who take ill while on board. Often this comes in the form of a discounted or free future cruise. Since the virus rarely leaves any lasting effects, the most a sick passenger can hope for is to get back all or part of his or her money paid.

Cruise ship companies have become much more proactive in the last decade when it comes to protecting passengers. It's bad for business if a ship is associated with illness. Companies have become astute at decontamination and at containing the outbreaks that do occur. Ships have been docked and cruises cancelled to prevent further illnesses from occurring after recorded outbreaks.

After the Queen Victoria docked in Lanzarote, efforts were made to contain ill passengers and decontaminate the ship. Keeping the bug on board and out of the port was a top priority for ship's staff. Face masks and a liberal supply of antiseptic hand lotion were just two of the precautions taken to ensure that the bug would not spread further.

Today the scourge of Queen Victoria's virus seems to be broken, at least for now. Her schedule for departures in the New Year includes trips to Sydney and Singapore.

Cunard, the ship's parent company, hopes that her curse is over and is planning for a stellar year of sailing.
About the Author
For vacation and Lanzarote holidays information visit yourlanzarote.net

The guide for Lanzarote includes a wide range of hotels from 5 stars to cheap Lanzarote hotels, while the same group have recently started information on villa holidays, including villa holidays in Cyprus
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