Don’t I deserve a refund for sailing on an infected ship?

Robert Dockery’s eastern Caribbean cruise on Holland America’s M.S. Maasdam got off to a bad start when it was delayed in order to conduct a “supersanitization.” It came to an even worse conclusion when Dockery and his wife became “deathly ill” with a gastrointestinal virus and remained in their stateroom, subsisting off Jell-O and toast.

Holland America apologized and offered the couple an upgrade on a future cruise, subject to availability. Dockery wants more — and he wants me to help him get it.

I don’t know if I can, or if I should. Maybe you can help me figure this one out.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Trawick International. Trawick International offers a variety of international travel insurance, trip cancellation/interruption, adventure travel and student insurance plans. We offer 24/7 travel assistance to travelers domestically and internationally. We continue to research ground-breaking products and ideas which meet the needs of travelers everywhere. No matter what type of Travel Insurance product you need, we have the perfect travel insurance policy for you! Visit Trawick International to learn more.

Let’s get a few housekeeping details out of the way first.

Here’s the Centers for Disease Control report on the outbreak, which happened on the cruise preceding Dockery’s.

Also worth noting is Holland America’s cruise contract, the legal agreement between Dockery and the cruise line. It basically says he has no rights to a refund.

For his 11-day cruise, Dockery reserved a deluxe veranda suite and paid $8,382.

Here’s what happened next:

Shortly after our arrival at Port Everglades, we were informed that boarding would be delayed because the ms Maasdam was being “supersanitized” because on the previous cruise there had been a serious outbreak of the Norovirus.

The authorities for Holland America assured the boarding passengers that the delay was necessary in order to comply with strict CDC regulations designed to ensure our health and safety during the up-coming voyage.

While this was not the most welcome news, we took the Holland America officials at their word and subsequently joined our fellow passengers to board the ms Maasdam.

Two days later, both Dockery and his wife were “deathly ill,” he says. “It was virtually impossible to enjoy the rest of the cruise,” he says.

“Indeed, the lingering effects of the illness forced us to seriously contemplate leaving the cruise in Barbados and flying back to Miami from Bridgetown,” he adds.

After his return, Dockery sent a polite letter to Holland America, describing the sick cruise and asking for compensation. The cruise line apologized and offered a space-available upgrade on a future cruise, which is entirely insufficient to him.

He’d like to get half his money back, and here’s why:

• The Maasdam was known to have a Norovirus problem but was quickly set out to sea again.

• By his own count, at least 100 passengers from the previous cruise were allowed back on board for a do-over cruise.

• There same crew ended up servicing both cruises.

I’ve reviewed the letters between Dockery and Holland America. With each missive, he becomes a little more insistent, finally invoking his law degree and threatening a lawsuit. I’m not sure if the last few messages were as productive as he would have wanted them to be, since the cruise line didn’t bother responding to them.

None of this should have happened, of course. Cruise lines that “supersanitize” a vessel should experience no new Norovirus cases — otherwise “supersanitize” means nothing more than putting on a good show for the CDC inspectors — and passengers on the cruise following a deep cleaning deserve special protections or guarantees that their voyage won’t end in illness.

I can definitely understand Dockery’s disappointment, and I agree with him that Holland America could have done more.

But what? Should it offer him a do-over? Or refund part of his cruise fare, as he requests?

75 thoughts on “Don’t I deserve a refund for sailing on an infected ship?

  1. If HA set the precedent by allowing do-overs, they’ve kind of opened the floodgates of compensation. If the OP documented his illness with a visit to the shipboard doctor early on in the cruise, I’d support a re-do offer from HA, altho getting the same pricey cabin type might be iffy… I don’t think he’d ever get anything close to 50% cash back.

    1. Emphasis on that leading IF. While I wouldn’t doubt that around 100 people planned back-to-back cruises as is common for ships that alternate between two itineraries, I do seriously doubt that many people could just suddenly accept immediate plans for an additional cruise as compensation for a Norovirus outbreak. I believe theOP has misinterpreted that situation to fit his laundry list of complaints.

      1. Yes, I think you’re right. It’s unlikely that people could’ve changed their flights in the limited time they had. But it IS HAL and probably 85% of the pax are retired and live in Florida anyway… At least the OP had a swank suite in which to convalesce…

          1. But he’s a LAWYER. Lawyers are supposed to be smart… haha. That being said, it was mid-January, so probably not capacity… But yeah, I’m beginning to doubt the OP’s telling of events…

  2. I only voted Yes because I agree with Chris that if the ship were ‘supersanitised’ this would mean, to me, that what weas necessary to prevent a future outbreak was done. Clearly, not though in this case. These stories really put me off cruising.

    1. Well, technically there was not another outbreak, as this particular sailing did not result in another CDC outbreak report. That doesn’t mean nobody got sick, but it does mean that far fewer did.

      1. Makes no difference if you’re one of the “fewer” that got sick. If they compensated passengers before, there’s no reason they shouldn’t do so again in this case.

    2. But, there was no further outbreak reported. Just he and his wife got sick, and that could be from a multitude of sources, as it takes a day or two before the symptoms hit you.

    3. But it does not guarantee that the new passengers boarding weren’t previously infected (like on the flight) and carry it onboard.

  3. A few things:
    1) I voted “No”, not because he doesn’t deserve more than a token cruise credit; rather because it would be futile. As soon as you invoke the words “lawyer” or “lawsuit” every single business that knows what they are doing, from the mom-n-pop store down the road to the largest mega-corp will shut up like a clam and ignore any further correspondence you send that isn’t formal legal service. I’d say that goes double if you are a lawyer yourself, and you have let the company know it.

    Seriously folks, FILING a lawsuit can bring about results. THREATENING one NEVER works. As a lawyer himself, he should know better… if he was HAL’s lawyer, he’d also tell them to send any further letters that aren’t legal service right into the circular file. (Or shunt them to legal, which would essentially do the same thing.)

    2) “The same crew ended up servicing both cruises.” This isn’t an airplane, where even an A380 might only have a couple dozen crew for a flight across the world. Where, exactly, was HAL supposed to procure a staff of 600 people?

    3) This is indeed a tricky virus to eradicate. The cruise line wants it gone as much as you do. The backbone of the cruise industry is repeat customers, and customers on a “sick ship” don’t sail again. (And noro outbreaks are very poor publicity.) Even if they were not able to eradicate it, it’s not necessarily proof of negligence on their part… sometimes even best efforts don’t work.

    4) Unless you are very elderly, immunocompromised, or have no access to medical care, norovirus isn’t particularly deadly. You may feel like you are dying (or wish you would), but it’s a virus most people with a healthy immune system can defeat after a few days of misery and suffering.

    5) They actually did a pretty decent job on the sanitizing. The CDC noro reporting requirements require another puplic outbreak report if noro prevalence exceeds 3% of the total people on board. (If the ship was full, that means no more than 54 people fell ill during the entire voyage.)

    All that said, most lines issue a refund for the days he was quarantined. (He was quarantined, wasn’t he? That’s standard procedure for noro.) This would be the bare minimum.

    I’m a little suspicious of his “do-over” statistics. It would be EXTREMELY rare for a cruise line to have 50 empty cabins available on a ship with only 632 of them. Most sailings of most ships sail utterly full, with the only open cabins being a few last-minute cancellations. Is he sure these weren’t “back-to-back” passengers already scheduled to be there for the next sailing? Although certainly if there were “do-over” passengers, they should extend him the same courtesy.

    However, all this is quite moot… since he’s escalated to “lawsuit-threat-land” the only recourse is whatever he can get out of a court (or settlement.) (Which will have to be in Washington state, according to the contract’s Forum Selection clause.)

      1. If He is a corporate/tax attorney or some other niche specialty that doesnt even deal with courts and lawsuits. He would be just as unknowledgeable as if you went to a heart surgeon because you had a brain tumor.

        Eliminating the “ill sue” part….the case is a valid case that he will likely win. I wonder if the CDC even knows about this because if two consecutive cruises people get sick the CDC should have been doing something involving enforcement.

        1. Evidence he got sick is not automatic evidence of negligence. If the cruise line could show they performed all reasonable steps to prevent a repeat outbreak (such as the post-outbreak, CDC-supervised, sanitation process), the law does not require them to be 100% successful. (If a public facility was required to stamp out all communicable disease, all the time, just about every hospital in the country would have to shut down for MRSA and C. Difficile infections…)

          I doubt there is anything nefarious going on; the payoff is far to little for the possible penalties. All intestinal illnesses on-board cruise ships are “reportable.” As part of the immigration/customs clearance process the ship must file a report with the number of people suffering from any one of a number of diseases. They must file this certified report even if nobody came down with anything.

          A separate report must be filed with the CDC if the number of ill passengers exceeds 2% of the people on-board. If it exceeds 3%, it’s officially a publicly reportable outbreak.

          If the number of passengers is below that 3% threshold, no outbreak is considered to have occurred. Period. You might be able to FOIA the report for this vessel, and I’m pretty sure it would show that the OP got sick (assuming he reported to medical during the voyage.)

    1. Very well said, I completely agree. The do-overs were probably passengers who had booked back to back on 2 cruises, there have always been some on every HAL cruise we”ve been on.

    2. i agree – especially with his reference to the 100 passengers — these were probably back-to-back cruisers, as these ships go out full regularly. And wondering if he told the doctor onboard he was sick, and they quarantined him, or they just didn’t leave the cabin when they got sick?

    3. I agree with much of your comment, but I don’t understand your purpose in voting “No.”

      Are you just trying to save Chris the time of trying to contact HA quite possibly in vain? Are you trying to punish the OP for using the “L” word?

      It’s always a possibility that a business won’t respond to Chris or won’t budge from it’s position. It’s also possible that a business which has cut off correspondence with it’s customer will agree to communicate with a detached third party like Chris.

      Even with lawsuits, it’s not unusual for judges to pressure litigants into mediation. I understand those mediators probably work much differently than a consumer advocate, but I believe the basic idea is the same. If there is a “fair” remedy in between the two side’s poisitions, then it’s usually preferable for both parties to get there without the expense of a lawsuit and trial.

      1. I voted no because it would be in vain. If a company believes you are preparing to file a lawsuit, they will not provide any further compensation, nor answer correspondence in any meaningful fashion because anything it provides or says can be construed as an admission of liability. For a personal-injury case like this, it’s especially risky.

        You might ask why companies ever provide compensation… well, most customers don’t file (or even mention) lawsuits, and will quietly go off into the proverbial sunset if given some sort of compensation. To shut off all customer-service compensation because of the few that might file lawsuits would be foolish. But once a customer has passed into the high-litigation-risk category, it’d be foolish to admit or provide anything. Such a customer is unlikely to ever return anyway, no matter what you do, and providing compensation to a customer like that is too legally risky.

        I’m not trying to punish the OP, just pointing out the corner the OP painted himself in.

        1. I don’t understand why HA can’t speak or correspond meaningfully — especially with a third party like Chris — without providing anything that could be construed as an admission of liability.

          If HA doesn’t think it’s liable then it would seem to me that they should be able to explain their position without admitting liability.

          They can also opt to require the passenger to waive any other claims as a precondition for agreeing to any sort of mediated compromise.

    4. I agree, but Chris, your statement -“None of this should have happened, of course. Cruise lines that “supersanitize” a vessel should experience no new Norovirus cases — otherwise “supersanitize” means nothing more than putting on a good show for the CDC inspectors — and passengers on the cruise following a deep cleaning deserve special protections or guarantees that their voyage won’t end in illness.” is flawed. The is no guarantee that santizing a ship “should” prevent another outbreak or that future passengers won’t get sick. The norovirus can’t be irradicated and there’s no guarantee that fresh passengers aren’t carriers of norovirus. Cruise ships go to great lengths to prevent an outbreak with hand sanitizers everywhere, signs about using paper towels to open doors, suggesting passengers not use the public toilets, etc.

  4. I think that if they allowed previous passengers to a do over, then it would only be fair to allow this passenger to the same treatment.

    With that being said and looking at the report, it seems that there were no other outbreaks, so I think that the future upgrade should be sufficient at this point.

  5. I voted yes but more information is required. Was there another outbreak of the virus on this cruise? Perhaps this was something that they were infected with prior to boarding.

    1. As other have pointed out, the problem with finding out about another outbreak is that CDC requirements allow cruise lines to not report illness until it reaches a certain threshold. And you’re unlikely to get accurate numbers from the cruise line either way.

      1. The cruiselines take it very seriously and there is a procedure in place for any “infected” cabins. They don’t just clean them, they sanitize them from top to bottom. The ship keeps very close tabs on how many cases there are. (In fact they ask both crew and passengers to make sure and report it so the numbers are accurate) Too many people in the mix to ignore numbers as anyone can call the CDC. It’s not worth anyone’s job to ignore it or lie about it.

      2. The CDC requires 100% reporting. Every last instance of GI illness must be reported. The thresholds come into play when making the numbers public.

        1. Yes, you are correct, sirwired. I should’ve been more explicit.

          I don’t doubt that they are reporting to CDC. But they won’t say anything to the public unless required to do so.

      3. UNTRUE! The REASON everyone knows about these onboard illnesses, and are unaware of breakouts at resorts is BECAUSE they must report ALL instances.

  6. Yes, this one should be mediated. However, I don’t think the cruise line will budge on this one in the slightest. They have the OPs money and it will take an act of God to get them to let go of it again.

    Invoking his law degree probably wasn’t the best idea but I’m sure he was getting the run around and finally allowed his frustration to get the better of him.

    The cruise line owes him a do-over, plain and simple, and not one where they wrestle MORE money out of him. Airlines will hangar a plane that needs major maintenance (and my feeling is that’s what this is) and brings out another one for passengers. Why aren’t cruiselines doing the same, especially when a virus has broken out as serious as this one? Putting passengers at risk in the name of the Almighty Dollar seems more than greedy but I can’t think of an appropriate word for “more than greedy”.

    I’m not sure, though, Chris, there’s any more you CAN do since he’s threatened lawsuit. I don’t know the cruiseline will listen any longer.

    1. They DID take the ship out of service for cleaning. The previous outbreak was severe enough for a delay, but not enough to cancel this particular sailing. (The original outbreak was not far over the CDC public reporting threshold, and the sailing the letter-writer went on did NOT qualify as a publicly-reportable outbreak, as not enough people were sick.)

      And are you seriously asking why the cruise line doesn’t “bring out” another ship? (Maybe you didn’t mean to apply that to cruise lines, just airlines.)

      This is not a serious virus; unless you are very elderly and/or immunocompromised, it makes you feel utterly miserable, but it is not particularly dangerous.

      How is the line supposed to know when the ship has been sufficiently cleaned? There isn’t a magic crystal ball they can consult.

      1. Having Rheumatoid Arthritis, I AM immunocompromised, all the time. Being exposed to something like this could kill me. You can take your chances, if you wish, and roll the dice as to whether it harms you or not. Me? I’d rather choose the side of life.

        Also, I didn’t know you were a doctor. It’s not on your profile anywhere.

        And, yes, I AM seriously asking the cruise line bring out another ship. As often as things go wrong with these things, they SHOULD have one on standby. Airlines do it… I didn’t realize money was more important than the life of a human being.

        1. If you opted not to travel because of the outbreak compounded by your condition, I think HAL would’ve refunded your cruise.

          But to expect them to have a “spare” ship lying around is ludicrous. Repositioning time and getting any ship ready would take DAYS (think of all the food that would need to be loaded, for starters). It’s just not feasible. Worse case scenario, they scrap the cruise for that week only but I’m thinking it would take a maritime disaster 50x worse than Norovirus for that to happen.

          1. Personally, I would opt to not take that cruise or ask if they have another one getting ready to leave with an empty cabin(which is a “probably not” but I’m a firm believer is, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no”) before I would just not take a cruise and lose the money or get into a debate with the cruise line over a refund.

            While RA isn’t a life-threatening illness by itself, the gauntlet of illnesses that might be an inconvenience to another person can be fatal to an RA sufferer whose immune system is already out of whack, much less adding in the immuno-supressing drugs. I was offered a press trip to Africa and had to turn it down on the advice of my doctor. I can’t get all the immunizations others get so I can’t go to some countries but CAN go to others.

            But thanks, all, for the strong support for someone who has a genuine illness and has NEVER taken a cruise (and never will) because of cruise ships being floating petri dishes.

        2. Please take a minute to really study your proposal. Airplanes have a staff of 10 (on the high end), fly at 500+ MPH and cost up to $300 million. Cruise ships have a staff of thousands, sail at 30 knots (40 mph ish) and cost a billion plus dollars.
          You really think that a cruiseline is going to have a ship, that might take a week plus to reposition, on standy by? Really?

        3. For their more common plane models, a large airline might operate over a hundred of a particular type. One can be sent anywhere in the world in under a day, and for domestic flights, usually 4-5 hours. If your plane breaks down in a hub, you’ll be on your way in an hour or so with a new jet.

          A cruise line might have one to eight in a particular class. (The Maasdam is an “S-class” ship, of which HAL owns a grand total of four.) It can take anywhere from an entire day to a month to move a ship between ports, depending on the location of those ports. At any given port, a line may only have one, maybe two, of a particular class operating. The idea that they would have a spare ship just floating in the dock in FL is not reasonable. (And, if they wanted to provide coverage for the west coast and Europe also, that’d be THREE ships to provide “spare” coverage for four operating vessels.)

        4. Its not like they have empty ships sitting around. Each ship is utilized to maximum capacity at all times. And if you travel ANYWHERE during norovirus season, you run the risk of illness, so if it is that bad for you, I would not recommend large resorts or exotic locales with poor medical facilities, either.

        5. Cruise ships start out these days at around $500 million and go up from there well past $1 billion. Having extra ones just sitting around is about as likely as you or I buying the house next door as a “spare” just in case company pops in and our main house is a mess.

          More realistic would be for them to take them out of service after an outbreak for a reasonable amount of time to get them disinfected. I know this ship was supposedly deep cleaned, but we all know the pressure was on for them to get it back into service as quickly as possible. But, that would mean canceling cruises and then we’d be reading a letter from somebody wanting additional compensation because the trip they’d had their heart set on had been canceled. They’re not going to win with everybody no matter what they do.

          1. But the CDC must clear a ship before it can leave port, so it WAS cleaned properly. However, since anyone flying in could have picked it up and brought it onboard, you can still get sick people. It is a virus, and does not stay only on cruiseships!

    2. I agree with you totally. Obviously, their purported cleaning was not done thoroughly enough. It could even be that there is a loophole in their ongoing sanitation practices as well. In any event, the OP should receive more compensation than has been offered to date. If HAL had been reasonable, he would not have had to invoke the “L” word.

      I vote in favour of mediation in the hope, probably naive/vain, that the intervention of an impartial, third party can thaw the frozen consumer/provider relationship.

      BTW would “avarice” or “cupidity” suffice?

  7. If Holland America allowed 100 passengers a “redo” from the infected ship, they have set a precedent in the case of disease outbreak. If these other passengers were offered this compensation, the OP should be as well especially since the cruise company were well aware of the virus by the time of the OPs departure.

    1. HIGHLY doubtful – there was the possibility they were back-to-back cruisers, as HAL offers many of these options. But their ships go out full, so finding 50 empty cabins on the next cruise – not buying it.

      1. I was just going by what was stated by the OP. 100 sounds excessive, but if they did it for a dozen people, maybe 5 or 6 empty rooms, the precedence is still there.

  8. I voted no for the same reason as @sirwired. There’s no reason to rewrite what he already said better than I could.

  9. NO! I seriously doubt that there were 100 folks on a do-over for free. Secondly, perhaps if he had been a little more careful with his cleanliness he might not have gotten sick.
    And I doubt that he was “deathly” ill. Take the upgrade and maybe some shipboard credit and quit whining. He has an attitude and personality of a bent trash can.
    If he has a law degree he should know what the contract said. If he didn’t want to abide by it he should have not signed it and stayed at home. As for a law suit he could represent himself and have a fool for a lawyer.

    1. Some virus strains are very easily-transmitted from surfaces. He probably caught it from a handrail, door handle, putting hands onto a table where someone has just sneezed… hardly the fault of a ship, really.

      Just like a common cold you will never be quite sure where it came from. We have all contracted a cold before and had instances where we didn’t know where we got it – a supermarket cart handle, the button in the elevator, we touch thousands of things every day. All the attention to cleaning the ship could not really sanitize every surface of every room. He needs to blame his fellow-passengers and himself, because I doubt anyone slipped this into his drink.

  10. Once someone mentions being a lawyer and threatens a lawsuit, you should not be involved, Chris. It has already escalated and gone past customer service and on to legal

  11. Cruise ships are a floating petri dish. Most of the people who are handling your food are third world urchins who probably put on shoes for the first time. Wash their hands? Forgeddabout it.

  12. Norovirus is a frequent risk aboard any cruise ship. Next time, fly to an all-inclusive resort and enjoy the vacation on a Caribbean island.

    I voted “no” because of the many missing facts, like did he report the sickness? How many were sick on this cruise? How long were they truly sick? Two days out to half-way (only “lingering effects” then) is maybe four days, How then could it be “virtually impossible” to enjoy the whole 11-day cruise? The math and narrative don’t add up.

    The CDC says, “Most people with norovirus illness get better within 1 to 3 days.” Sounds about right.

    Seems like a drama case and quite overblown.

    1. Plus, he could still get the norovirus at Disneyworld, an all-inclusive, or even at the hotel up the street. Happens in schools, senior citizen homes and rehab centers all the time, too.

    2. I agree with you except for your statement about going to an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean. Outbreaks are just as common, or more so, but they aren’t required to report them. Same for hotels.

  13. It doesn’t sound as if this had anything to do with the norovirus outbreak if he and his wife were the only ones affected. Bad personal hygiene could be to blame. Should have taken the upgrade.

  14. The more I read Mr. Elliot’s fine blog, the less I understand why people go on cruises. There are so many other things in the world to do!

    1. Ditto. Maybe cheap or too lazy to make own itinerary and travel plans. Or maybe they just truly enjoy cafeteria-like food and cramped quarters.

  15. I voted yes. If he got sick because the ship was not properly cleaned, then he was unable to get the service he paid for through the fault of the shipping line. A refund is in order, although a free passage on another cruise would probably be more appropriate.

  16. So, he played the lawyer card, failed, and now turns to public shaming here?

    Sketchy.

    Does he have one of those commericals where he shouts into the camera and promises to “hammer away at those mean insurance companies” and “get you the money you deserve from Social Security Disability?”

    1. Here in Chicago, we have one where the sketchy personal injury attorney shouts “What’s your case worth?” several times. I can’t figure out how this is legal, and if it is, how the ABA doesn’t yank his license.

  17. The whole cruise contract reads like a scam. They can get you sick, they can deny you, they can kick you off. Whatever they feel like, you get no refund. i will never cruise ever now. How can it be that one-sided and still be legal?

    1. Well, it’s not like airline contracts, or indeed any contract, are much better these days.

      Even online video game services such as Sony’s PlayStation Network and Valve’s Steam service have gone the “no class action lawsuits allowed; we pick the arbitrator” route in recent months.

      1. That is disgusting! So I can no longer do business with many major corporations without waiving my rights, and agreeing to the fact that they may not even provide something in return for my money. We seem to have no rights anymore. How is this all legal?

  18. If indeed they were re-infected with the same virus, then Holland America should give them a full cruise refund or a full cruise. According to the article 100 people got back on the ship. ALl of them may have been infected. The crew got back on the ship. They could have been infected. These were know conditions and Holland officials were aware of it. It is stupid to threaten a lawsuit during communications. Sue them!

  19. I voted no because of the passenger invoking his “law degree”; which by the way, doesn’t dictate that he is or ever has been a practicing attorney. Nevertheless, I don’t see where Chris will make any hay, from this case. Yes, Holland “could” have done more and perhaps “should” have; but, attitude is more than half the battle, when seeking compensation. At this point, Holland has written off this case!

  20. Big question needs to be answered here. Was the couple the ONLY ones to get sick? If so, then how can they explain that when the ship was super-sanitized? If there were others, would they not have a stronger case?

  21. Just one comment. I wonder if the OP is a practicing attorney. Practicing attorneys generally don’t say, “I have a law degree”. They say, “I’m an attorney”

    That leads me to speculate that perhaps while the OP has a law degree, he may not actually be an attorney (i.e. not passed the bar), very new, or simply isn’t practicing. As numerous posters have commented, playing the attorney/lawsuit card is the quickest way for a business to clam up.

  22. Well, I’m not that sympathetic that he did invoke his “I’m a lawyer” status, but it sounds like he did that after receiving many “no, we won’t compensate you” replies from the cruise line.

    Regardless of how “deadly” the novovirus is or how hard it is to eradicate, one does not pay a cruise line to lie in one’s cabin being sick because the cruise line failed to properly clean and fumigate the ship. One pays to be able to enjoy the cruise. And by invoking some kind of contract that permits the cruise line to refuse anything beyond offering anything more than a voucher for a future cruise “subject to availability” when one is not likely to want to cruise on a ship run by a line where one was lying in bed sick because of the inadequate serving by the ship’s personnel, I think the cruise line opened itself up to a host of problems.

    1. because the cruise line failed to properly clean and fumigate the ship

      If you can prove it than he should sue, the problem is that neither you nor I nor anyone else can prove that this came from the cruise ship and not a passenger arriving infected already.
      Here’s something to consider …. the cruiseline off loaded around 1200 passengers that morning. A large number of them flying out of the same airport that the OP flew into. Can you be sure that he didn’t contract it there?
      How about another passenger showing up with it? It is norovirus season. When I’ve picked it up, my doc tells me that she’s seen a number of patients with it so you don’t have to be on a cruise ship to get the bug.
      There are a ton of way to pass the bug and it only takes one time of not washing your hands to get it. There wasn’t a second outbreak reported to the CDC so I highly doubt this was a case of the cruise ship failing to clean.

      1. At the same time, can you prove that he didn’t get the norovirus from any source other than the ship? Either way, regardless of how much they did to clean and sanitize the ship, they had a problem with it before, allowed a number of passengers from the previous cruise back on the ship, and put the ship back into service. If there was that big a problem with the ship, they should have used a different ship, or if that was not feasible, should have canceled the cruise.

  23. Why I voted “yes”:
    1. “Supersanitize” had a great sound to it (like “superpower” for Russia?), but in reality – you just cannot sanitize every nook or cranny. And if any infected crew/pax (esp. those with latent infection) were put back on the ship…well….
    2. The cruise line should offer the pax a do-over. Refunding part of his money means they will never see him again.

    What surprises me:
    For someone with a legal degree and the ability to plunk down 8k for a trip, come come the person did not get trip insurance (what Elliott blog readers are so well familiar with) or- if applicable- get his credit card company involved?

  24. Would trip insurance have refunded his cruise had they chosen to return home? I buy travel insurance whenever I travel outside the U.S., although I must admit I rarely cruise.

  25. Two words. STOP CRUISING.
    If you can’t handle the dehydration that accompanies a Norovirus infection, think of another way to do a vacation.

  26. I would hope that Dockery had travel insurance and collected on it. Then take HAL offer and try again on another cruise. Sometimes things can’t be helped, but I wonder about the crew and how many of them were sick. It is more crew than passengers keeping a contagious disease going. I voted NO.

  27. my wife & i were on that cruise.we both got really sick..our travel agent told us not to bother complaining.we pledged never to go on another cruise or use her again! they lost good customers ..we cruised 3 times a year.i’m interested in how chris makes out….
    ps…everything they stated was true…they left out …the CAPTIAN refusing to shake hands(fear of disease) you could however touch his sleeve.
    i should have never boarded…& used my insurance!!! $4500…lost at sea!! not again……tom

  28. It is IMPOSSIBLE, to completely decontaminate the large cruise ships in service today, unless they want to keep the ship in port for several days, and the cruise line is not going to do that. They are going to put on a dog-and-pony show for the CDC and then load more passengers on the ship and hope for the best.

    So, I think there should be a law allowing passengers to cancel their
    cruise, without penalty, when the ship is contaminated with norovirus on it’s previous voyage. I would never go on a cruise without that guarantee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: