Around 400 passengers onboard P&O’s Oriana are planning to stage a protest this morning during debarkation. This protest is apparently a response to the quarantine of about 400 guests onboard who have reportedly contracted norovirus.
The passengers are planning to in a sense, rebel, against the Captain, officers, and crew by refusing to disembark the ship. How will this be done? They are planning to stage a “sit in” inside the ship’s lobby. Passengers are accusing ship officers of ‘lying’ about the extent of the norovirus problem and failing to address their concerns.
One passenger onboard the Oriana was quoted as saying, “We’re going to stage a sit-down or a protest of some form on board the liner before we get off. We’re all respectable middle-class travelers of a certain age. I have never been on a protest in my life but this trip has infuriated me.”
I have reached out to P&O to obtain a statement regarding the planned protest, but as of 8:15pm I have not received a statement.
While ill passengers are obviously not feeling well and upset about their cruise being disrupted, there really is no reason to inconvenience both the crew who must both sanitize and prepare the ship for the next round of guests, as well as inconveniencing the embarking guests with an additional delay on their cruise.
The norovirus has recently been unfairly linked to the cruise industry, even though norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States. In recent years, cruise lines have taken precautionary steps to help stop the spreading of the virus onboard the ships. These measures include installing hand sanitizers throughout ships, banning self-service at buffets*, and hiring special cleaning crews specifically to combat norovirus.
12/14 6:30am update: The Oriana has docked in Southampton and there have been no signs of a rebellion or protest from the passengers. Thankfully, the debarkation process is running smoothly and the deep clean of the Oriana and preparations for the next cruise will begin soon.
Photo credit: Bettina Rohbrecht & Roger Cartwright.