'Cruise nightmare left us with cabin fever'
PUBLISHED: 18:33 15 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:50 23 August 2010
A 74-YEAR-OLD woman who spent her holiday trapped on board a virus-hit ocean liner says people were washing their hands like Lady Macbeth as panic spread through the cruiser. Marjorie Jones, of Orchard Drive, Meopham, and her husband David joined a 10-
A 74-YEAR-OLD woman who spent her holiday trapped on board a virus-hit ocean liner says people were 'washing their hands like Lady Macbeth' as panic spread through the cruiser.
Marjorie Jones, of Orchard Drive, Meopham, and her husband David joined a 10-day cruise aboard the Marco Polo ocean liner with members of Meopham Active Retirement Group, leaving from Tilbury Dock on Saturday, July 4.
Just two days into the trip, passengers on board started going down with a vomiting bug.
By Tuesday, tour operators Transocean Tours announced that 200 of the ship's 769 passengers had been struck down with suspected norovirus.
One sufferer, 74-year-old Roy Sillett, from Norwich, died onboard the ship but was later said to have been died from a heart attack not related to the bug.
Mrs Jones said: "The first day it was announced everybody was very nervous and worried. People were washing their hands like they were Lady Macbeth.
"It spread by touch so the staff were rushing around washing everything. There was an atmosphere of anxiousness where people were trying to keep away from each other.
"You would look at other couples and see one of them was missing and think 'well they have got it'."
Transocean Tours terminated the voyage at its first stop at Invergordon, Scotland.
Arrangements were made for those not affected by the virus to leave the vessel but anyone showing the symptoms was asked to remain on board.
Mrs Jones said: "My husband was very ill and he is still very weak and tired still, but he is eating now. He had to stay in the cabin most of the time.
"Once they knew about the precautions they really went out of their way to clean the ship. He saw the ship's doctor twice."
The ship started back from Invergordon to Tilbury Dock on Thursday, July 9, and arrived the following Saturday.
Passengers were allowed off the vessel after being checked by port authorities.
A spokesperson for Transocean Tours said the vessel has undergone a full sanitisation programme and all passengers were offered a full refund.