A couple are suing a cruise company after they were forced to spend a couple of days in quarantine on their holiday after contracting food poisoning.
Rachel and David Willcox are taking legal action against Royal Caribbean Line after they became seriously ill whilst on a 10-day cruise around the Mediterranean in August.
The couple, from Bristol, say they suffered sickness, lethargy and explosive diarrhoea on the Rhapsody of the Seas ship – which at one point was so bad for David they were confined to their cabin for two days.
They were forced to stay in their room as medics gave David injections and medication.
Meanwhile, other passengers visited Croatia and Montenegro and enjoyed the facilities of the luxury liner, which boasts a spa, two swimming pools and several restaurants.
The couple, who paid over £2,000 for their dream holiday, also claim the ship was “dirty with grease and grime” and that there didn’t seem to be enough cleaners on board for the 2,000 passengers and 700 crew. Rachael said:
“I’ve been on 12 different cruises and usually there are cleaners all over the ship but I just didn’t seem to see many this time around.
“The ship felt really dirty with grease and grime on the buttons in the lift for example.
“After David fell ill staff dropped food off at our room and we had to put the used cutlery and plates in a pink bag in the morning – it was really worrying as I saw a lot of these pink bags coming out of cabins across the ship.”
Rachel and David have now instructed injury lawyers Irwin Mitchell to investigate the cause of the gastric illness symptoms they experienced on-board.
Amandeep Dhillon, who is representing them, said:
“It’s worrying to hear of reports of illness aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas ship.
“Gastric illness can not only be very unpleasant at the time for the sufferer, but it can also cause longer term problems.
“There are strict guidelines for cruise ships to follow to prevent the spread of illness and we have been instructed to investigate the conditions at the time that Rachael and her husband were suffering.
“We would like to speak to anyone else who suffered similar issues on-board the Rhapsody of the Seas as they may be able to help with our investigations.”
Accounts clerk Rachael says their experience ruined their holiday, which they splashed out on to celebrate her mum’s birthday. She added:
“These holidays are precious opportunities to spend quality time together and make lasting memories however we just look back on this cruise with regret and disappointment.
“It’s not how you expect to spend a cruise that you paid so much money for.
“We were both very much looking forward to this cruise and desperately needed a break, we never thought we would fall ill and neither of us is back to 100 per cent yet.”
The couple also complained of being fed “bland” meals from a special room service menu for ill people.
The menu was titled ‘A bland diet can settle troublesome vomiting and diarrhoea’.
It ordered them to “avoid caffeine, alcohol, apple juice, orange juice,” and restricted them to eating only bananas, milk rice and toast – with no butter.
On the second day of their illness, the meal plan was boiled eggs and toast for breakfast, clear chicken or beef broth for lunch and jelly or bread pudding for dinner.
Despite the couple’s claims Royal Caribbean told the Sun that Mr and Mrs Willcox have not contacted them and they are unaware of any legal action being brought against them.
A spokesperson for the cruise line said:
“We are yet to hear from Mr and Mrs Willcox’s lawyers and will do a full investigation as soon as we do.”