Passengers sue holiday company over 'cruise from hell'
IT WAS a Christmas cruise that promised a "touch of luxury" and "devilishly delicious cuisine".
But for many the reality was dirty cabins, filthy swimming pools and food so bad it left them ill with gastroenteritis, it has been claimed
A group of holidaymakers are suing the travel company Thomson for thousands of pounds after they claim the week-long trip on the liner Celebration turned into a “holiday from hell”.
They are claiming damages after alleging that their cabins were smelly, the food and drink was terrible and the dining rooms and decks were infested with insects and birds. The passengers, who paid £1,000 each, also claim that the children’s swimming pool was contaminated with human waste.
The Thomson Celebration, which has three restaurants, five bars and two swimming pools, had left Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt on Dec 23, 2010, and returned a week later, after visiting Aqaba in Jordan, as well as Port Sokhna and Safaga, also in Egypt.
The group of nine passengers claim they became ill after the swimming pool became contaminated with faeces, birds landed on outside tables, insects were present in the dining rooms and bars, and food and drink that was unsafe for consumption was served. They said that when they complained, they found staff unhelpful, and their complaints were not properly investigated.
The group allege their bedrooms smelled unpleasant, bathrooms had discoloured water and were dirty, and staff handling food failed to wear clean clothes and gloves. Food was not served at the correct temperature, fresh food was mixed with leftovers, meat was not cooked properly and diners were given jugs containing murky coloured water, it is alleged.
The 33,930-ton cruise liner can carry 1,254 passengers in 627 cabins, with a staff of 520. Thomson Holidays did not take adequate steps to limit the spread of illness on the ship, court papers say.
Jason Kerr, his wife Kelly and their daughter Saffron, were all struck down by illness on Christmas Day 2010.
Mr Kerr, a carpenter, was off work for a month. Mrs Kerr said: “The entire experience has been a nightmare from start to finish. It was supposed to be the best Christmas ever, a real special family occasion, but in the end we were just delighted to return home.
“Generally the ship was really tatty and run down, and the water in the adults’ pool was filthy but worst of all was the faeces floating in the children’s pool – it was utterly disgusting.”
The passengers accuse Thomson Holidays of breach of contract and negligence, and say their holiday made them ill with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and weight loss according to the High Court claim.
Suki Chhokar, representing the Kerr family, has called on Thomson to take steps to make sure that future passengers on the ship do not suffer similar problems. “The reports we have received from the Kerr family … are a serious cause for concern, particularly as Thomson’s website promises travellers aboard the liner 'a touch of luxury’ and 'devilishly delicious cuisine’.
“This family’s awful experience shows that this is far from the truth, and it is essential that Thomson’s owners TUI UK Ltd investigate how they became so ill to ensure that lessons are learnt and that future passengers’ safety is protected.” Thomson did not return calls yesterday