'Plague ship' returns home to Southampton after passengers were struck down by norovirus


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The Independent Online

A cruise liner dubbed “a plague ship” by passengers struck down with the norovirus vomiting illness docked at Southampton today.

Emerging into the rain after their 10-day voyage, passengers on the P&O vessel Oriana spoke of their ordeal.

Chris Meadows, from Southampton, who attended a crisis meeting between the liner's captain and passengers, said the captain told travellers staff were struggling to cope.

Mr Meadows told The Daily Telegraph "The captain has admitted at the height of the outbreak the crew could not cope."

Scores of passengers were laid low by the virus.

One woman passenger told Sky News today: "It was poorly organised. The crew were running around like headless chickens.

"They didn't seem to know what to do and we were told it was all our fault."

A male passenger told Sky that passengers had had to rely on room service for food as parts of the ship were shut off.

"The wait was around two-and-a-half hours," he said.

P&O Cruises managing director Carol Marlow apologised to passengers today.

She told Sky: "We had a number of people who were taken ill. I have written to all the passengers saying how sorry I am.

"These are our passengers. We want them to have a good time so they sail with us again."

She invited passengers with particular concerns to contact the company and added that any compensation would be dealt with on an individual basis.