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Royal Caribbean – Ovation of the Seas

By on December 6, 2017

Holiday from hell: Two hundred passengers aboard luxury cruise ship struck down with vomiting and diarrhoea bug

Staff have been seen sanitising the ship as hundreds of guests have been taken ill during the two-week cruise

It’s a holiday from hell for passengers aboard a luxury cruise ship after 200 guests have been struck down with a vomiting and diarrhoea bug.

Holidaymakers aboard the Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas ship are suffering with the illness after the ship, which is travelling to Sydney, Australia, left Singapore two weeks ago.

A total of 5,800 passengers are on board, which means just over 3% of the total population travelling on the ship have caught the stomach bug.

One passenger posted a video showing crew members wearing industrial cleaning suits as they sprayed the corridors and hallways in bid to contain the illness.

They wrote: “I’m on here now and basically a sitting duck with people in both cabins either side not well with the gastro.

“They are doing everything perfectly to avoid further sickness. I could hear them last night spraying outside my cabin.”

A letter to passengers revealed that part of a ‘bottomless brunch’ had been cancelled, with finger food buffets also being stopped completely, and tours around the galley brought to a halt.

The ship is due to dock in Sydney on Thursday, but the next set of passengers have already been told they will face a delay while an intensive clean takes place.

There are 5,800 passengers on board the ship in total.

Hand sanitiser has also been placed at multiple locations on the ship, with crew members stationed by them to remind passengers to use it on a regular basis.

Many travellers have already praised staff on board the ship for their efforts to contain the stomach bug, reports ABC News Australia

Royal Caribbean International issued a statement, which read: “Those affected by the short-lived illness were treated by our ship’s doctors with over-the-counter medication, and we hope all our guests feel better quickly.

“Meanwhile, we’re taking steps like intensive sanitary procedures to minimise the risk of any further issues.

“Upon arrival into port in Sydney, the ship and terminal will be comprehensively sanitised and cleansed to help prevent the spread of illness, resulting in a delay to boarding for new guests.

“In addition, crew have undertaken enhanced cleaning practices throughout the cruise, including significantly increasing the already regular sanitisation of hand touch surfaces such as door handles, railings and elevator buttons.

“It is imperative that any guests who are experiencing or have experienced any symptoms of illness advise us as soon as possible, so that they can be provided the care required and to prevent any further spread.”

If you need formal legal advice to protect you and your families interests, contact Holiday Sickness Claims on Freephone: 0800-8-654321 or visit www.holidaysicknessclaims.co.uk or visit our Facebook page www.Facebook.com/holidaysickness

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Holiday from hell: Two hundred passengers aboard luxury cruise ship struck down with vomiting and diarrhoea bug Staff have been seen sanitising the ship as hundreds of guests have been taken ill during the two-week cruise It’s a holiday from hell for passengers aboard a luxury cruise ship after 200 guests have been struck down with a vomiting […]

Spread Holiday Cheer, Not Bacteria: Four Food Safety Tips

By on December 6, 2017

The holidays are all about bringing family and friends together to celebrate the season and enjoy good food. However, some unwelcome guests like Salmonella, E. coli, Staph aureus and Listeria can ruin an otherwise great party. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 48 million people get sick with a foodborne illness every year, many of them during the holidays. These tiny viruses, parasites and bacteria can make you and your guests severely ill. For vulnerable populations like pregnant women, young children, elderly individuals and people with compromised immune systems, these types of illnesses can be life-threatening.

There are four basic food safety measures that will help you spread cheer this holiday season while keeping you and your guests healthy. Just remember: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill. By following these four basic food safety measures, you and your guests will have a holiday to remember – in a good way!

Don’t let your holidays be spoiled by food-borne illness!

Clean. Be sure to wash your hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling any food. Sing “Happy Birthday” or say the 4-H pledge twice through to be sure you’re washing for the appropriate amount of time. Wash all surfaces that will come into contact with food. This includes cutting boards, dishes, utensils and countertops. Always wash these items with hot soapy water before and after preparing each food item. It’s always important to rinse fresh fruits and vegetables, including organic, under cool running water but never rinse raw meat or poultry before cooking! This practice is no longer recommended because it can potentially spread bacteria to sinks, countertops and nearby foods. Any harmful bacteria on the surface of raw meat or poultry will be killed when the appropriate internal temperature has been reached.

Separate. Keep raw eggs, meat, poultry, seafood and their juices away from foods that don’t require cooking. It’s important to keep these foods separated while shopping, when storing in the refrigerator and while preparing meals. Consider using one cutting board for cooked foods and one for raw. Never place ready-to-eat or freshly cooked foods on an unwashed surface that has been exposed to raw animal proteins or their juices. This reduces the risk of cross-contamination and therefore reduces the risk of foodborne illness.

Cook. Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria. The best way to tell if meat, poultry and fish are cooked to a safe internal temperature is to use a food thermometer. This holiday season, many of us will be preparing turkey. A turkey is thoroughly cooked and safe to consume when a food thermometer inserted into the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast registers 165°F. Whether you choose to stuff your turkey or bake the stuffing in a casserole dish, make sure the internal temperature of the stuffing is also 165°F.

Chill. The refrigerator is not just a safe place to store foods before and after cooking, it’s also a safe place to thaw your holiday turkey because of its consistent temperature of 40°F or less. When defrosting a turkey in the fridge, a good rule of thumb is one day per 4 pounds of bird. So, a 20-pound turkey can take up to five days to thaw in the refrigerator. If you forget to put your frozen turkey into the refrigerator in time, you can defrost your turkey in the kitchen sink under cool running water or in the microwave. However, foods thawed using these two methods should be cooked immediately. Never, defrost food at room temperature as bacteria thrive in these environments.

Remember safe thawing is just as important as safe cooking.

After everyone has finished eating, refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours instead of leaving them out for people to nibble on. This not only reduces the chances of foodborne illness, it also reduces consumption of excess calories. Keep in mind that travel time is included in the 2-hour rule. So, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold during transportation and service, and always refrigerate leftovers and any type of food that requires refrigeration within 2 hours, including that pumpkin pie.

What can you do to make sure your family and 4-H club members avoid foodborne illness at your next holiday party? Clean all surfaces, including your hands, before, during and after food preparation; separate raw foods from ready-to-eat foods; cook foods to the appropriate internal temperature; and chill leftovers within 2 hours. These four basic food safety measures can make the difference between a positive and negative experience for you and your guests.

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The holidays are all about bringing family and friends together to celebrate the season and enjoy good food. However, some unwelcome guests like Salmonella, E. coli, Staph aureus and Listeria can ruin an otherwise great party. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 48 million people get sick with a foodborne illness every year, […]

Is ABTA still relevant today?

By on September 16, 2017

Recently, a number of tour operators and travel firms, have decided to give up their memberships for the trades association, The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA). Theyclaim that the association is no longer relevant to their business.

 

In the latest update, 15 firms, have decided not to renew their memberships which begs to question, is the association still relevant today with ATOL protection and other forms of consumer protection?

 

Tour Operator Mark Warner has given up its ABTA membership, saying the association is no longer relevant to its business. Many other firms have followed the same course.

 

What is ABTA?

 

In 1950, The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), was founded by 22 leading travel companies and has been running as the travel industries trade body ever since. ABTA, has a code of conduct ensuring its members “…maintain high standards and it allows you to travel with confidence”. Most of the requirements contained within the code, are covered under UK and European law.

 

If you buy a land- or sea-based holiday from an ABTA Member, your monies will be protected by the ‘ABTA scheme of financial protection’. If your travel company fails and your holiday can no longer go ahead, you will be entitled to a refund and hotel costs and transport home if you are abroad. However, those who purchase ‘single services’ such as accommodation only will not automatically be protected under the scheme with many opting out of protecting consumers.

 

However, if people pay for their coach, rail or cruise holiday using a credit card, it will be covered under The Consumer Credit Act (Section 75 claims); a consumer protection package and some will be protected through the Visa’s voluntary policy when using their debit cards.

 

In a publication by the ONS in the annual report which provides estimates and profiles of travel and tourism visits. In their report published in May 2017 “there were 70.8 million visits overseas by UK residents in 2016, which was 8% more than in 2015.”

 

In that report, 45.02 millionof Britswho travelled overseas was for the purpose of holidaying, the preferred mode of travel of brits going overseas was by flight accounting for over 59.58 million.

 

 

Air 84.14
 

Boat

9.44
Train (Channel Tunnel) 6.42

 

 

The above table shows the percentage of UK Travellers overseas in 2016 by mode of transport

 

What is ATOL?

 

Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL) is a Civil Aviation Authority scheme, giving financial protection to people who have purchased package holidays and flights from a member tour operator currently signed up to the scheme. The majority of UK tour operators are required to hold an ATOL licence.

 

This consumer protection has two parts; to pays for refunds of flights and accommodation (and any other part of a package holiday), if the tour operator is unable to meet their contractual obligations to travellers.  It also arranges flights or accommodation to those already overseas. Government funding covers any shortfall to consumers which may arise.

 

Therefore, ATOL-protected flights from the UK, would be covered under the ATOL protection scheme and the Air Travel Trust pays the excess which is not covered by ATOL. These 59.58 million tourists would have little recourse from the current ABTA scheme.

 

In 2006, the Office of Fair Trade withdrew its approval for the ABTA code of conduct. This was due to a restructuring of its code of conduct by withdrawing its compensation paid to people who have lost money to a dishonest travel agent.

 

“We are disappointed that ABTA has taken the decision to change its code and withdraw from the scheme,” said Colin Brown of the OFT.

 

This now raises the question on what benefit does ABTA offer to consumers that isn’t already in operation?

 

Alan Hoey, managing Director at Holiday Sickness Claims raises the question about the independence of those in charge of ABTA, many of which have further interests in their own Travel Companies and Tour Operator companies. Can they really be independent?

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Recently, a number of tour operators and travel firms, have decided to give up their memberships for the trades association, The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA). Theyclaim that the association is no longer relevant to their business.   In the latest update, 15 firms, have decided not to renew their memberships which begs to […]

Thomas Cook boss says only ONE PER CENT of holiday sickness claims by Britons are genuine

By on September 11, 2017

Thomas Cook Boss Peter Fankhauser says ‘99% or 98% of Holiday Sickness Claims they
receive are either fake or exaggerated’.

Peter Fankhauser, Boss of the oldest Tour Operator in the country told the Daily Mail that
‘the majority of those saying that the hotel made them ill were lying.
‘Of course, there are people from time to time who do fall genuinely ill and we do everything
we can to help them’.

The astonishing statement was published in the Daily Mail’s online version and shows the
absolute contempt and scare mongering being driven through the media by Tour Operators
and ABTA, the travel industry’s well-known association, that embroils those who suffer
genuine sickness and tarnishes them with the same as some rogue firms and fake claim
persons who have been highlighted in the press of recent times.

While we have no doubt some fraudulent people and companies have been involved in
generating fake claims, highlighted by the mass media frenzy over the past 12 months, it is
extremely unprofessional and defamatory for Thomas Cook to make a general and global
statement like this, especially without substantial proof and proper statistics to back it up.

Claims Legal Ltd who offer a claims assistance service to those affected by holiday sickness
through www.holidaysicknessclaims.co.uk have made a formal complaint to the Independent
Press Standards Organisation about the statement and the publication of it.
Alan Hoey, Managing Director of Claims Legal Ltd said “Newspapers and media have a duty
to ensure what they put in print is accurate. It is estimated there has tens of thousands of
holiday sickness claims submitted to Tour Operators over the past 18 months, and to say
that from 10,000, 9900 are fake and only 100 of these are genuine cannot be substantiated
and is an illegal statement that is aimed to stop new claims being submitted, by scammers
and by those genuinely affected by holiday sickness.
The Daily Mail article can be read here:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4847630/Thomas- Cook-boss- ONE-CENT- holiday-
sick-real.html
ABTA has talked of a 500% increase in claims and attributed the rise to a number of
“unscrupulous” claims management firms, yet the Claims Management Regulation Unit has
taken action against those ‘small minority’ of regulated firms they have identified being

involved in illegal claim activities. Many of those involved in fake claims are not regulated
and licensed firms and operate illegally.

Chief executive Peter Fankhauser said the fraudulent claims were the actions of a “small
minority. This is an issue for the whole industry. We need to work together to clamp down
(on the problem),” he said.

Alan Hoey, Managing Director at Claims Legal said that Tour Operators and Resorts need to
implement new measures at the resorts for proper reporting and recording and Tour
Operators need to educate travellers on health and hygiene and if there are issues how to
report them directly.

A recent customer enquiry to Holiday Sickness Claims reported all 8 of their group on
holiday were sick, and not only did they have to call a doctor themselves, and pay 150
euros, the doctor did not take any samples for analysis, and even prescribed an adult
rehydration remedy to children. When the matter was reported to the rep, the rep told the
customer they would follow it up by email, but nothing has been received by the customer to
date. The customer did not have any clear causation as to what caused the sickness to all 8
in their group, but was very aware there were others at the same hotel who were also sick.
While fake claims are a massive issue and need to be stamped out, Claims Legal Ltd fully
support Tour operators and regulatory bodies taking swift and severe action against those
involved in fake claims, and ultimately anyone involved in the same should be given a long
custodial sentence. While holiday sickness is a real problem for many travellers every year,
it is only a small number of the many millions of people that travel abroad on All-Inclusive
holidays each year, and given the sheer numbers involved, it is inevitable some will suffer
with food borne sickness.

Attacking proper regulated claims firms who operate professionally and correctly and at the
same time calling 99% of those making a claim to be fraudsters cannot be tolerated. It
pushes the boundaries unfairly and is nothing but scandalous to make such a statement.
It seems evident in many enquiries that we receive that Tour Operators and hotels are on
‘lock down’ while the media frenzy against the fraudsters continues, those with real sickness
issues are being left at risk and not given the correct service and medical treatment, and that
is leaving a real risk to travellers.

What we have not heard in the mass media is what new steps the Tour Operators have
implemented to help those who suffer holiday sickness while they are abroad with a proper
reporting and support structure, and proper provision of medical support in real time.

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Thomas Cook Boss Peter Fankhauser says ‘99% or 98% of Holiday Sickness Claims they receive are either fake or exaggerated’. Peter Fankhauser, Boss of the oldest Tour Operator in the country told the Daily Mail that ‘the majority of those saying that the hotel made them ill were lying. ‘Of course, there are people from […]

Ware family’s Caribbean holiday turned to a ‘nightmare’ after they were struck down with illness

By on June 8, 2017

A holiday in the Dominican Republic at a four-star resort turned into a “nightmare” for one family after they were struck down with a severe gastric illness.

Adrian Race, 47, from Ware, his wife Lisa, also 47, and their two daughters, 15 and 12, were staying at the ClubHotelRiu Merengue resort in February when Mr Race and his children fell ill four days into the two week trip.

They suffered diarrhoea, vomiting, shakes, fever and Mr Race was unable to drink much and could not leave the resort.

Mr Race claims he spotted flies and even cockroaches in the resort’s restaurant while the family was eating.

He said: “The hotel was not what you would expect from a four-star resort.

“On occasions, the food tasted out of date and food was often left uncovered for a significant period of time during the sitting.

“There were often lots of flies in the restaurant and on a number of occasions we saw cockroaches running across the floor of the restaurant.

“In addition, there were times when birds were seen pecking at food off the tables.”

The family had travelled to the Caribbean country on February 11, to celebrate Mrs Race’s mother’s 70th birthday and her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.

Mr Race, who works as a scaffolder, went to A&E on his return to the UK after he began suffering stomach cramps at work.

He was attached to an intravenous drip and had blood and urine tests and had to take two weeks off work and lost two stone in weight.

More than three months later, he continues to suffer from an altered bowel habit, stomach cramps and lethargy.

Mr Race said: “Golden wedding anniversaries and 70th birthdays are major life milestones and we had been looking forward to an amazing double family celebration.

“But ended up just wanting the holiday to be over so we could go home and recover. It was a nightmare and ruined the whole holiday.

“My family and I had been really looking forward to the holiday but it was spoilt by the illness suffered. I just want to know what caused the illness.”

Mr Race says that the hotel swimming pool was very dirty and murky and on one occasion was closed suddenly without explanation.

The hotel toilets were also said to have been unhygienic. The family found on a number of occasions that faeces had been smeared across the toilet seats.

The family have gone to specialist holiday illness lawyers Irwin Mitchell, who are now investigating the case.

personal injury lawyer representing the couple said: “The illness Adrian and his children suffered during and after their trip to the Dominican Republic has obviously been extremely difficult for them to deal with.Adrian has told us of a number of hygiene concerns he had about the resort and we have begun an investigation into what caused the family’s illness.

TUI, the company that organised the holiday, has been approached for comment.

 

If you’ve been caught with Holiday Sickness, call Holiday Sickness Claims free on 0800-8-654321. Our service is 100% free to UK consumers and all panel solicitors work on a No Win No Fee service.

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A holiday in the Dominican Republic at a four-star resort turned into a “nightmare” for one family after they were struck down with a severe gastric illness. Adrian Race, 47, from Ware, his wife Lisa, also 47, and their two daughters, 15 and 12, were staying at the ClubHotelRiu Merengue resort in February when Mr Race and […]

POISONED IN CUBAN PARADISE

By on May 31, 2017

Brit family’s dream £6,000 Thomas Cook trip to luxury Cuban resort turns into holiday from hell after they are struck down by crippling stomach bug
A MUM has told how a holiday of a lifetime was ruined when her family were struck down with a crippling stomach bug at a “dreadful” resort.
Debbie Wood said her family’s dream trip to Cuba turned into a nightmare when their hotel served them raw chicken and sewage leaked near the “filthy” pool.
Debbie Wood went on holiday with her three kids and her ex-partner to Cuba in March. She was shocked at the state of the hotel that came as part of her £6,000 Thomas Cook package. She claims her daughter’s bed was made with what appeared to be blood-stained sheets

Her ten-year-old daughter Talia got so ill that she needed emergency medical treatment and was bedridden for much of the two-week stay at the Memories Varadero Beach Resort.
Their harrowing story will form part of a group lawsuit being brought by several families who say they suffered holiday hell at the venue.
Debbie jetted off from Leeds with her ex and their three kids to the Memories Varadero Beach Resort with Thomas Cook on March 31 hoping for all-inclusive family fun at a cost of over £6,000.
But all five family members fell ill from a suspected food poisoning outbreak.
Their plight was made worse by “dreadful” bathroom facilities and a hotel said to be in a general state of disrepair.
Foster carer Debbie compiled an alarming list of hygiene failings, claiming that her family was served raw chicken on at least two occasions.
She said the outdoor buffet selection was often left uncovered, inviting birds and bugs to feast on prepared dishes.
She claimed that cutlery, crockery and glassware were frequently chipped and not properly cleaned, with drinks appearing watered down and mains water used.
Talia before she was struck down with illness. Her family claim to have been served raw chicken twice

Debbie, 46, said: “The swimming pool was simply filthy.“It was horrific and was not once cleaned properly. You could see green algae on the tiles.“Whilst we were there, there was even a raw sewage leak behind the bar in the pool.”
Debbie also slammed cleaning standards inside the hotel, and remains angry that her daughter Talia’s bedding was replaced with what appeared to be blood-stained linens.
Debbie said: “It was terrifying seeing how ill my daughter was.
“She had a raging fever as well as gastric issues but she was too poorly to go anywhere so we had to call the doctor to the room.
“There she was given an injection, antibiotics and analgesics.
“She was in bed ill for at least four days, too ill to go out. She then spent the rest of the holiday resting in the shade or spending time in the room as she was so ill.”
The family were shocked to find a mouldy shower curtain rail in the bathroom. The Wood family say they have still not returned to full health with both Debbie and Talia attending their GP at home.

Debbie added: “I have been told that it is likely we contracted food poisoning, possibly salmonella.
“My daughter and I are still suffering ill effects weeks after we have returned.
“It could have ended in a tragedy due to the unhygienic food practices.
“My advice to other holidaymakers would be to avoid Memories Varadero Beach Resort at all costs.
“We spoke to experienced Cuban holidaymakers who advised us this was the worst hotel they had ever stayed in.
“According to reviews, sickness has been a long running issue at Memories Varadero Beach Resort with reports stretching back as far as 2012.
“We booked almost a year before going so Thomas Cook had ample time to contact us regarding the problems that I can only assume they must have been aware of.”
Solicitor firm representing the family said: “We have reported on outbreaks of illness at Memories Varadero Beach Resort for a number of years.“This latest sickness saga is especially worrying – illness coupled with disrepair is a recipe for disaster and I sincerely hope that the hotel and tour operators work together in order to fully investigate the cause or causes of illness.
“Contracting food poisoning on holiday is not only unpleasant but can have lasting and even life-altering consequences if any number of post-infective conditions are developed.
“For this reason, it is imperative that anyone affected by illness at Memories Varadero Beach Resort seeks both medical and legal advice.”
A spokesperson for Thomas Cook said: “We want our customers to have the best possible holiday, so we are sorry to hear that Ms Wood and her family became ill while in Cuba.
“We take all reports of sickness very seriously and will look into this case thoroughly with the hotel as soon as we receive it.”
Claims Legal who help clients under their brand Holiday Sickness Claims said it isn’t unusual that Tour Operators are aware of several previous sickness claims at resorts and they continue to sell to UK consumers without declaring this which should not be allowed to happen.
You can contact us with your holiday sickness enquiry on Freephone 0800-8-654321

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Brit family’s dream £6,000 Thomas Cook trip to luxury Cuban resort turns into holiday from hell after they are struck down by crippling stomach bug A MUM has told how a holiday of a lifetime was ruined when her family were struck down with a crippling stomach bug at a “dreadful” resort. Debbie Wood said […]

Thomas Cook reports rise in holiday sickness claims

By on May 19, 2017

Thomas Cook revealed an increase in illness related claims from UK consumers in its interim half-year results and said it believes many to be “questionable”.
The operator would not give figures but said the rise was in line with the rest of the UK package travel industry.
Abta has talked of a 500% increase in claims and attributed the rise to a number of “unscrupulous” claims management firms.
Chief executive Peter Fankhauser said the fraudulent claims were the actions of a “small minority”.
“This is an issue for the whole industry. We need to work together to clamp down (on the problem),” he said.
Fankhauser said the company had seen an increase in claims from Greece where it has also seen a 40% group-wide rise in demand.
But he insisted the company would not be paying out on any fraudulent claims.
A spokesman added: “At a time when customer satisfaction levels are increasing, we believe many of these claims are questionable and are motivated by the actions of certain claims management companies.
“We are working closely with our hotel partners and the authorities, particularly in Spain, to improve processes in resort and will continue actively to lobby government for changes to legislation in this area.”
Alan Hoey, Managing Director at Claims Legal who offer a claims related service for Holiday Sickness Claims said that Tour Operators and Resorts need to implement new measures at the resorts for proper reporting and recording and Tour Operators need to educate travellers on health and hygiene and if there are issues how to report them directly.
“While there are always those submit fraudulent claims, and processes are in place to spot these and challenge them legally, a large number of new claims over the last 18 months are due to the UK consumers being aware that they can make a claim for Holiday Sickness, where they were not previously aware that regulations were in place to protect them!
Holiday Sickness Claims – 0800-8-654321

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Thomas Cook revealed an increase in illness related claims from UK consumers in its interim half-year results and said it believes many to be “questionable”. The operator would not give figures but said the rise was in line with the rest of the UK package travel industry. Abta has talked of a 500% increase in […]

Brit family left bedbound with holiday sickness and diarrhoea after shelling out for dream holiday

By on April 19, 2017

A DAD-OF-TWO has told how a “Fawlty Towers” holiday experience left his whole family bedbound with holiday sickness and diarrhoea.

Paul Hawkins said he saved for two years for the dream holiday only to have a catalogue of disasters ruin the family break.

As well as suffering sickness, a dirty room and undercooked food in their hotel, he said the final straw was when management removed their bedding for cleaning leaving them with no duvets or sheets, only pillows and dressing gowns for three nights.

Despite complaining repeatedly online and in person to his rep and hotel staff about the state of the resort, he says Thomson eventually responded by offering him a $50 (£40) voucher to spend in the hotel – 20 minutes before he was due to fly home.

He claims Thomson airline staff later branded him a troublemaker at the airport before escorting him onto the plane home.

The 37-year-old blasted: “I wouldn’t wish that holiday on my worst enemy. It was a complete disaster from start to finish. Things went from bad to worse and just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse something else happened. It’s the closest thing to Fawlty Towers.

“The staff there appeared to be clueless and there was no real customer service as nothing seemed to get changed. Thomson couldn’t even be bothered to help, it was disgusting. I have been on bad holidays before and usually there is something good you can recall but I can honestly say there was nothing good about this experience at all.”

Paul – who owns a car garage and works six days a week – booked the £4,000, 10 day holiday to Dominican Republic with wife Katrina, 36, and daughters Maisie, 4, and Nieve, 8, and was looking forward to the break.

But he says things started going wrong half an hour before landing when cold water started streaming onto his youngest daughter from the light socket on the plane above her head.

He added: “I complained but I was just told to sit down. All I wanted was a towel. So in the end I strapped her under my seatbelt in my lap. When we landed her seat was soaking.”

After checking in to the Sirenis Punta Cana Casino and Aquagames resort in January this year, the family went to the buffet and were shocked by the poor quality of the food.

Paul says there was raw and under cooked food in the trays and the chef was handling cooked and raw food and was only wearing one glove.

He added: “The food was horrible so in the end we opted for the only thing that looked ok which was ham and bread.”

The following morning he said they had their first real look at the room which he said was filthy.

He added: “It was disgusting – we had to give it a good clean, there was engrained dirt everywhere. We used three packs of wet wipes to clean dirt off the walls and units and the wipes were dark brown afterwards.”

They then went to breakfast but ended up giving the food a wide berth after seeing piles of fat and undercooked scrambled eggs.

They decided to go to the pool to cheer themselves up but it was a complete let down as he says the children’s pool smelt and was dirty and he complained to reception to get it cleaned.

Later that night they complained and decided to try an a la carte restaurant hoping for an improvement but after ordering and waiting an hour and half for one starter they gave up and went to the buffet instead.

The following day their eldest daughter was walking to reception when a loose nail went through her flip flop into her foot.

They then spent three hours in a medical centre before Paul decided to try to fly home but was told it would cost them £1,700 per person.

Paul from Bury, Lancs. added: “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was just money they were after. They offered us another hotel but that would have cost us £2,300. We were all sick to the back teeth of the place and wanted to go home as we didn’t know what else was coming.”

He didn’t have to wait long as they were offered vouchers to try another restaurant for dinner. But after two hours of waiting they had only been served lukewarm starters of chicken wings so they ate and left in disgust rather than wait for mains.

The following morning the entire family came down with severe sickness and diarrhoea leaving them confined to their beds.

He said: “My wife came down with it first first and then as myself and my daughters went downstairs they rushed to the nearest toilet and were sick. But the toilets had blocked up and sewage was over the floor. It was horrible.”

He then asked the hotel to change their bedding hoping to get rid of some germs not knowing that it would be a three night wait to get replacements.

He said: “It was beyond a joke. Despite being ill I had to keep going downstairs and complaining about our sickness and having no bedding. There was just a mattress protector and we were using bathrobes to keep warm at night. But they didn’t understand and just kept giving me pillows instead. I had 10 at one point. I complained to the rep and emailed him but got no response.”

They all went to the medical centre where his daughter was treated and was told they had food poisoning but staff refused to give them a print out of the medical notes.

He added: “I think they must know the hotel and didn’t want to give us any paperwork as other guests had also been saying they were ill at the hotel.”

He says to top things off while waiting to leave he says the rep offered him a $50 dollar voucher as a ‘gesture of goodwill’ to spend in the hotel.

“I was so angry. It was adding insult to injury”

After everything they had been through he expected a hassle free trip home but he says instead airline staff singled them out as a troublemakers.

He added: “They said we had been threatening and abusive to staff and so we had to wait for everyone else to board. Then they kept our passports. It was humiliating and we were all still sick.”

His youngest daughter Maisie spent the next two weeks recovering and he says he had to take time off work.

Now after months of having no satisfactory response from Thomson he is taking legal action over his ruined holiday.

Last night Nicholas Lukacs travel lawyer of Holiday claims specialist Simpson Millar – who is handling his claim – said they had noticed a large increase in sickness among guests visiting Dominican Republic.

He said: “This has been an awful experience for the Hawkins family but unfortunately it is not an isolated case on the island. We have dealt with dozens of similar cases. Tourists should expect the highest standards of hygiene and care when travelling abroad and tour operators need to do much more to protect customers under their care.”

A spokesperson for Thomson said: “We’re sorry to hear of Mr and Mrs Hawkins’ holiday experience and would like to thank them for bringing this to our attention.

“We’re currently investigating the complaint and will be in touch with the customers directly.

“We’d like to reassure customers that we regularly audit all of the hotels we feature in respect of health and safety, including hygiene.”

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A DAD-OF-TWO has told how a “Fawlty Towers” holiday experience left his whole family bedbound with holiday sickness and diarrhoea. Paul Hawkins said he saved for two years for the dream holiday only to have a catalogue of disasters ruin the family break. As well as suffering sickness, a dirty room and undercooked food in […]

Mother sues First Choice over Gastric Illness in Egypt

By on April 18, 2017

Mother, 35, sues First Choice after she was struck down by gastric illness at a

‘filthy’ four-star Egyptian resort

A mother-of- two has described her Egyptian holiday that spiralled into a nightmare

after she contracted a gastric illness from what she says were ‘dirty’ conditions at the

resort.

Lisa Walker, of Yarm, Cleveland, flew to the four-star Iberotel Coraya Beach Resort

in Marsa Alam, Egypt, on October 26 last year for a week-long break with a female

friend, but was shocked to find dirty cutlery, food left uncovered, filthy swimming pool

area and a leaky roof.

The 35-year- old had to take three weeks off work when she returned to the UK, after

her doctor diagnosed her with gastric illness.

Now she is fighting for justice and is taking legal action against tour operator TUI UK

Limited, trading as First Choice.

Lisa Walker, of Yarm, Cleveland, flew to the four-star Iberotel Coraya Beach Resort

in Marsa Alam, Egypt, on October 26 last year, but was shocked to see the resort’s

‘dirty’ conditions

Lisa was looking forward to staying in the hotel set on the edge of a coral reef and

cocktails on a private beach, as well as three outside pools, one of them with a

swim-up bar.

But when she arrived, the hotel was nothing like she expected.

‘I was disappointed with the hotel. It was certainly not what I expected from a holiday

I had looked forward to for ages,’ she said.

She added: ‘Some of the cutlery and crockery in the dining area was dirty, on

occasions food was left out and uncovered – even the roof in reception leaked which

meant dirty water was flowing through the hotel.

‘The area around the swimming pool was also dirty with debris which made its way

into the swimming pool.’

Walker said that contracting the gastric illness meant she was restricted in what she

could do on holiday and claims other guests told they were also feeling unwell.

‘When I got back to the UK I went to my GP and he diagnosed that I was suffering

from a gastric illness,’ she said. ‘I couldn’t believe it.

The 35-year- old had to take three weeks off work when she returned to the UK, after

her doctor diagnosed her with gastric illness

Now she is fighting for justice and is taking legal action against tour operator TUI UK

Limited, trading as First Choice

‘I lost three weeks off work for the sake of a miserable seven-day holiday. It was a

nightmare holiday and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.’

Gastric illnesses can often leave people with long-term health symptoms.

A lawyer representing Walker, said that “the mother-of- two was still suffering, six

months later. We are determined to help Lisa to obtain answers regarding the issues

she faced, As part of our investigation we would be keen to hear from anyone else

who was affected or witnessed the problems.’

A spokesperson for First Choice said in a statement: ‘We’re sorry to hear of the

customer’s experience. As we understand this matter is now subject to legal

proceedings it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.

‘We’d like to reassure customers that we regularly audit all of the hotels we feature in

respect of health and safety, including hygiene.’

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Mother, 35, sues First Choice after she was struck down by gastric illness at a ‘filthy’ four-star Egyptian resort A mother-of- two has described her Egyptian holiday that spiralled into a nightmare after she contracted a gastric illness from what she says were ‘dirty’ conditions at the resort. Lisa Walker, of Yarm, Cleveland, flew to […]

Salmonella poisoning ruined luxury holiday in Bulgaria for British couple and left them needing to go to the toilet FORTY times a day

By on April 7, 2017

An idyllic holiday turned into a health nightmare for a couple when they were struck down with salmonella poisoning at a luxury resort.

Paul Gallagher, 45, and his wife Lesley, 48, were looking forward to a sun-soaked break in Sinemorets, Bulgaria, but their joy was short-lived when they both fell ill.

Three days into their stay, the pair suffered extreme vomiting, diarrhoea, sweating and stomach cramps in September last year.

Paul, a HGV driver, revealed how he spent the remainder of the week-long holiday going to the toilet FORTY times a day.

The pair, from East Kilbride, in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, claim food was left out for hours which attracted flies and the pool was dirty at the four-star Bella Vista Beach Club, where they had paid £620 for an all-inclusive stay.

Back home, Paul’s stools tested positive for salmonella – which is usually caused by eating contaminated food. Lesley was suspected of having the same. The couple are now seeking compensation.

Paul and Lisa Gallagher spent almost their entire holiday struck down with vomiting and diarrhoea

Paul says the sickness completely ruined the holiday. He said: ‘We could barely leave the hotel room. It was awful.

‘My wife was really bad first. She didn’t know which end to put in the toilet. We’d had a bit of a drink the night before – as you do on holiday – so I just thought it was that at first. Then a few hours later, I had to go straight to the bathroom and didn’t really leave until we had to fly home.

‘I was going up to 40 times a day right up to the rime I flew back to the UK.’

Paul said when they arrived at the hotel, travel reps told them there was a gastro illness going around, but didn’t take any further appropriate action.

He claims the breakfast in the all-you-can-eat restaurant was left sitting out from 6am until 10am, with flies and wasps crawling all over the food.

‘It was just sitting there for hours,’ he said. ‘But we were all inclusive so we didn’t really have a lot of choice.’

Paul also claims the pool was ‘dirty’ and the tiles around the swimming areas were cracked.

Paul says he told staff at the hotel about his illness and they asked if he wanted to see a doctor.

But he says medical staff wanted him to pay cash upfront, rather than arrange treatment through his travel insurance, so he declined.

On their last day, Paul says he was too ill to leave the hotel room by 4pm as required and the hotel charged him a full night’s fee of £40 to stay a few hours extra.

He then faced a ‘nightmare’ two-and-a-half hour coach journey to the airport with no toilet.

Paul has claimed hygiene standards were poor at the hotel

Paul said: ‘When you’re that poorly you just want to be at home in bed.

‘A friend who we were with is a nurse and told them I was too ill to be moved.

‘They eventually let me stay in there but I couldn’t believe they charged me for it.

On the coach I had to take two packets of Imodium to get me through it – and even then I had to make the bus stop. It was pretty horrible.’

As Paul delivers food to the catering trade for work, he was forced to take nine days off until he was completely clear of symptoms, and was visited by an environmental health officer. He lost £690 in earnings.

The couple are now seeking compensation from travel operator Thomson.

Paul said: ‘I lost nine days of work and didn’t get paid, which was more than the holiday cost.’

‘Many of these cases include people who have been struck down with gastro-bugs and suffer from violent vomiting and diarrhoea lasting days and in some cases weeks.

‘Food poisoning can always be avoided and that is why it is important the highest food and hygiene standards are maintained.’

A spokesperson for Thomson said: ‘We’re sorry to hear of the Mr and Mrs Gallagher’s holiday experience.

‘As we understand this matter is now subject to legal proceedings it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.

‘We’d like to reassure customers that we regularly audit all accommodations we feature in respect of health and safety, including hygiene.’

Holiday Sickness Claims offers a free, no obligation review of your holiday and the sickness you have encountered and have a large panel of specialist solicitors who represent Holiday Sickness claimants on a No Win No Fee service.

Visit www.holidaysicknessclaims.co.uk or free call 0800-8-654321

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An idyllic holiday turned into a health nightmare for a couple when they were struck down with salmonella poisoning at a luxury resort. Paul Gallagher, 45, and his wife Lesley, 48, were looking forward to a sun-soaked break in Sinemorets, Bulgaria, but their joy was short-lived when they both fell ill. Three days into their […]

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