Luxury cruise ‘ruined’ when illness struck

Paul Sutton, of St Annes, says his luxury cruise was ruined when he was diagnosed with gastroenteritis.
Paul Sutton, of St Annes, says his luxury cruise was ruined when he was diagnosed with gastroenteritis.
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A couple are demanding an investigation after their once-in-a-lifetime cruise was ruined when the husband suffered a serious gastric illness.

Paul Sutton, 59, needed tablets and an injection after being diagnosed with gastroenteritis while travelling as a passenger on P&O’s Ventura cruise ship.

Paul Sutton and partner Linda Purnell, of St Annes, say their luxury cruise was ruined when he was diagnosed with gastroenteritis.

Paul Sutton and partner Linda Purnell, of St Annes, say their luxury cruise was ruined when he was diagnosed with gastroenteritis.

Mr Sutton and partner Linda Purnell, 67, of St Annes, were on the luxury cruise when disaster struck in March. His symptoms were so severe that he was left wheelchair-bound while on the ship and said he was embarrassed to be taken in public lifts by a porter while in his dressing gown.

Upon his return to the UK, he also needed two days of hospital treatment. Now they have asked a legal firm to investigate how Mr Sutton came to be struck down just six days into their holiday.

Nichola Blackburn, the legal expert at Irwin Mitchell, who is representing the couple, said: “It has been very worrying to hear the first-hand account of what our clients faced during their stay on board the Ventura and we are determined to help them gain answers regarding what they faced.

“The case is a clear reminder of the huge consequences that gastric illnesses can have on those affected, often leading them to suffer long-term issues which in some cases they never fully recover from.

“Everything possible should always be done to protect cruise ship passengers from the risk of illness.”

Linda said: “It was awful seeing how the illness affected Paul and I honestly cannot recall seeing him so ill. While the shop doctor treated him, we were disappointed with how the rest of the staff generally looked after him.

“We’d asked to use the service lift when moving around the ship, but were told this was not possible. This was quite humiliating for Paul as it often meant he was in the lift in a wheelchair and in his dressing gown, with a disposable sick bowl when other passengers were dressed for meals.

“Paul was taken to hospital as soon as the ship got back to the UK and was in there for two days.

“He was placed into an isolation ward and initially was not allowed any visitors, which left us confused as to why the ship staff were still happy for him to use the public lift while on board.

“Once we got home he even took to living in our caravan outside the house as he wanted to avoid passing anything on to my 91-year-old mother, whom I care for full-time.

“We just cannot believe that what was meant to be a special holiday was ruined in this way, with the issues going on to have a lasting impact. Both of us feel we deserve some answers regarding the illness Paul suffered.”

P&O Cruises did not respond to requests from the Gazette for a comment.