The Pacific Eden, P&O’s recent fleet edition which undertook a complete refurbishment and joined the flag last month, has come under fire after passengers were hit by a gastroenteritis outbreak.
While P&O admits 60 of the 1,500 passengers were taken ill with norovirus – a common complaint which every cruise line battles – The Sydney Morning Herald maintains the Eden is a “floating disaster”.
The paper claims guests have reported it was the second outbreak. Passengers also told the newspaper of “mouldy bathrooms , a dearth of toilet paper, flooding , leaks and poor customer service.”
Cruise Passenger went aboard the Eden just a few weeks ago – and found the ship to have had a brilliant refurbishment.
While some cabins have yet to be refitted, the public areas were spic and span, with new restaurants, a new pool deck, bars and entertainment.
There were hand sterilizers in all locations, and prominent notices promoting their use.
It’s true that the amazingly fast Singapore refit still has some jobs that needed completing. But our verdict was the ship was in great shape.
The Herald and its readers were, however, scathing.
‘‘ It was worse than a one-star motel, basically,’’ the paper quoted Cherie Butcherine, who was travelling with her husband, mother and daughter Alexa.
‘‘ We were just devastated to have to stay on board. There was food all over the floor , the bathroom was absolutely disgusting, it was covered in mould.’’
She is seeking a refund of the $6800 she paid for four tickets.
It was public relations consultant and former Liberal candidate Jaimie Abbott who coined the headline-making phrase: ‘‘ floating disaster ship.’ ’ She claimed her cabin flooded before the ship departed , though the paper quoted her as maintained she sympathised with staff who did ‘‘ everything they could”.
A P&O spokeswoman told Fairfax Media: ‘‘ The complaints of a few are at odds from what we heard from other passengers who spoke of having a fantastic holiday,’’ she said. The company’s countermeasures were successful, she said.
‘‘ Only a small number of passengers were affected over the duration of the 12-night cruise.’’
One thing to remember about the sickness that, sadly, sometimes afflicts cruise ships: they are, more often than not, brought aboard by passengers.
And getting everyone to use sanitisers is a well-worn problem. Cruise lines have been at it for years. Take a look at this ad from Norwegian: