Virus outbreak grounds UK cruise liner

A cruise liner in the UK has been banned from leaving port by coastguards after a gastro-intestinal virus caused passengers and crew to fall sick. Around 70 passengers and 16 crew suffered symptoms including diarrhoea and vomiting on the second day of the cruise.

The ship Van Gogh was on charter to Travelscope and is owned by Netherlands-based Club Cruise.

It is now unable sail from Harwich, even though the 15,420-ton vessel was due to begin another, pounds 699-a-head, week-long cruise for more than 500 passengers to the fjords in Norway.

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency detained the vessel on the advice of health officials, saying that the virus was “rife’’ on board.

Passengers who were unable to set sail are to be offered refunds and Travelscope are still working out what package to offer those who had become sick.

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All 230 staff have stayed on board, and are being monitored by the local port health authority to ensure there are no new reported incidents of the illness over a 48 hour period, which ends on Tuesday evening, 30th May.

The Van Gogh is expected to resume its scheduled programme with the next departure on Saturday 3rd June.
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