A couple whose dream Christmas holiday cruise turned into a nightmare are set to receive a payout four years on.
Terry and Elizabeth Howarth had spent £2,500 on a Mediterranean cruise on the Island Escape ship in 2009 to celebrate their retirement but just two days into their holiday were struck down with sickness and diarrhoea.
The bug had spread throughout the ship’s passengers rapidly, causing the toilets to become blocked worsening conditions on the ship.
Passengers contacted solicitors after the nightmare and now holiday firm Thomson, which owned the ship, have agreed to pay a settlement of up to £10,000 per passenger.
Mrs Howarth said: “We were told that we would get some of the money back, but not what we paid for the cruise.
“We have been on a few cruises both before and since but that ship was dreadful.
“It was filthy and the smell was awful. Christmas was ruined.
“We have been told that the money is coming but we have had nothing yet and it has been four years waiting for this.”
Specialist travel lawyers Irwin Mitchell have secured a settlement of several hundred thousand pounds for the 190 passengers.
They issued court proceedings against Sunshine Cruises Limited, TUI UK Limited and First Choice Holidays & Flights Limited following liability being denied.
The company said settlement has been agreed on behalf of dozens of families although liability has not formally been admitted by the operators for causing passengers to become ill on board the ship.
Many of the passengers affected by illness suffered symptoms which included diarrhoea, stomach cramps and severe sickness.
It said some are still continuing to suffer symptoms now, four years on. A spokesman for First Choice Holidays, which is part of the Thomson group, said that they do not comment on settlements.
Elizabeth Tetzner, from Irwin Mitchell, said: “We are pleased for this group of passengers that travelled on board the cruise ship in 2009 and 2010 that their legal battle is over and they will now receive settlements after their trips were ruined aboard the Island Escape cruise. A number of the passengers who suffered illness suffered from symptoms such as stomach cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting. Aside from making the cruise extremely unpleasant, these illnesses can have a debilitating long term impact.”