Couple win pay-out four years after ‘disaster’ cruise

Donna and Glenn Weekes

Donna and Glenn Weekes - Credit: Archant

It was supposed to be the dream get-away. But a seven-day cruise turned into a nightmare of overflowing toilets and unhygienic conditions for one Little Easton couple.

Donna and Glenn Weekes booked the Thomson Dream cruise to celebrate their 20th anniversary in May 2010. But, like hundreds of other passengers, their trip was ruined when Glenn got sickness and diarrhoea three days in.

This week the couple were paid £2,250 in compensation in an out-of-court settlement. Yet the couple feel this is “too little, too late”.

Donna, 48, said: “The aftercare was absolutely awful – Thomson didn’t want to know. We were not worried about the money, all we wanted was either another holiday on them or our money back.

“We would have been happy if they just held up their hands and said they made a mistake. We kept going with the complaint because it just made me so angry – our trip was totally spoiled.”

The trouble started for the couple as soon as they stepped on to the boat for their Mediterranean cruise. They were hit by an “awful smell” which stayed with them for the whole trip. They also complained about toilets backing up and sewage spilling on the floor.

“We expected once we left the dock the smell would go away but it got worse – it was making us gag,” added the mother-of-one.

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“The cleaners were wearing full face masks, all the toilets were overflowing and there was faeces on the floor. The boat was awful.”

Glenn, 61, who suffered with sickness and diarrhoea for months after the cruise, said: “It wasn’t a dream cruise – it was a disaster cruise.

“There were 10 of us [friends and family] on that trip and not one person had a good time. We couldn’t wait to get off the boat and get away from the smell.

“It is unbelievable it has taken four years to get to where we are today.”

Donna and Glenn enlisted the help of specialist travel lawyers from Irwin Mitchell to fight their corner.

The firm represented 205 passengers from across the country who travelled aboard the Thomson Dream cruise ship between May and October 2010.

Irwin Mitchell previously agreed settlements for 13 passengers and has now come to an agreement with tour operator TUI UK Ltd, in respect of the remaining 192 passengers. The parties have agreed awards for passengers of up to £11,000 each.

Elizabeth Tetzner, a specialist travel lawyer at the firm, said: “A number of the passengers who travelled on the Thomson Dream in 2010 were devastated that they suffered illness. We are pleased that we have been able to reach a settlement with TUI UK Ltd for all those passengers we represented that travelled between May and October 2010. We hope they will now be able to get on with their lives and put the experience behind them.”

Thomson declined to comment.