Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Cruise ship passengers ill again

Fifty more people have been struck down with norovirus on a cruise ship which had 180 passengers and crew fall ill on its previous trip.

The 180 people suffering from the winter vomiting bug had gone to Gran Canaria on Fred Olsen's ship, Boudicca.

When the vessel arrived in Portsmouth on Friday, it was cleaned and sent on another cruise to Zeebrugge and Amsterdam later the same day.

The firm said passengers were warned before the ship set sail for Amsterdam.

It said that Portsmouth Port Health Authority had also been made aware of the situation.

Refund warning

A spokeswoman for Fred Olsen said: "We have been communication with Portsmouth Port Health Authority and they are very happy with how we have handled the situation.

"We tested some samples on board - 12 tested positive for the virus."

The BBC has learned that the 827 passengers who booked the four-day mini-cruise to Zeebrugge and Amsterdam which set off on Friday were sent letters saying they should see their family doctor if they had any medical concerns.

But the spokeswoman added: "Passengers would only be eligible for a refund after cancelling the trip if their GP had advised against taking it."

The initial 12-day cruise, which departed from Portsmouth on Sunday 6 December, called at Madeira, La Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, and Lisbon.

The Boudicca carries 287 crew.

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