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Hopes dashed as trip of lifetime becomes ‘cruise from hell’

HORROR CRUISE: Max Chapman and June Moore had high hopes when they boarded their first cruise in Brisbane but they now say ‘never again’.
HORROR CRUISE: Max Chapman and June Moore had high hopes when they boarded their first cruise in Brisbane but they now say ‘never again’. Contributed

IT WAS planned as a nice Christmas cruise but for Mackay residents Max Chapman and June Moore it turned into anything but.

When the Sea Princess left Brisbane two weeks ago hopes were high for a special 11 days away together, their first time cruising.

But after the 'cruise from hell' Mr Chapman says "never again". Mr Chapman said the trouble started about halfway into the cruise.

"Just before we went ashore at Suva, the captain announced that a lot of people were sick," he said. "Then the captain on the ship announced the level had gone to code red.

"That was when they introduced hand sanitisation in the dining room; there was no hand sanitisation before that."

On Boxing Day passengers were issued with a health advisory from the Sea Princess chief medical officer Dr Grant Tarling.

"I would like to advise you that unfortunately over the 48 hours we have seen an increase in the number of reported cases of gastrointestinal illness," it read.

"We suspect that the virus may have been inadvertently introduced on board by guests.

"We have proactively initiated an extensive sanitation program on board."

The illness hit Ms Moore the day before they docked in Brisbane, Mr Chapman said.

"She was confined to the cabin (so) I went down to get some medication for her, which they charged us for," he said.

By the time they docked in Brisbane, Mr Chapman said, there were four ambulances waiting for the cruise ship to arrive and the sick passengers were kept separate.

"We were held there for about an hour, no information, nothing to drink... we got nothing," he said. "The people who got sick were just treated like lepers, they didn't want to know us... they just didn't care," he said.

A Princess Cruises spokesman said while the number of cases among the more than 2000 passengers was small, they shared the disappointment of any guest whose holiday was affected by illness.

Topics:  cruise illness princess

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