A cruise passenger is suing Carnival, accusing it of mishandling a norovirus outbreak that gave her 'explosive diarrhea'

An aerial image of Princess Cruises' Sun Princess cruise ship arriving into White Bay terminal on March 21, 2020 in Sydney, Australia.
The Sun Princess cruise ship.James D. Morgan/Getty Images
  • A cruise passenger is accusing Carnival of mishandling norovirus outbreaks on their ships.

  • Julie McLean-Phillips said she suffered from "uncontrolled vomiting and explosive diarrhea."

  • She's asking to be monetarily compensated for "inconvenience, distress and disappointment."

A woman embroiled in a class-action lawsuit with Carnival has made a new filing accusing the cruise company of mishandling norovirus outbreaks on its ships.

Julie McLean-Phillips, who sailed on the Sun Princess cruise ship from December 5 to 18, 2016, said she and her sister, Vivienne Trudgeon, spent most of their trip being sick with the norovirus. The Carnival Corporation sold the Sun Princess and its sister ship in 2020, but the company was cited in McLean-Phillips' filing.

In her lawsuit, McLean-Phillips accused Carnival of mishandling multiple outbreaks on eight cruises between December 2016 and February 2017.

She first filed her lawsuit against Carnival in December 2022, according to court documents seen by Insider. McLean-Phillips' case was initially struck out by Australia's courts in April, but she submitted her newly amended statement of claim on August 18. Her lawyers had earlier submitted an amended statement of claim in May, per news.com.au.

McLean-Phillips' statement of claim argues that her hopes of having a "relaxing and pleasurable cruise" were dashed when Trudgeon "began to experience symptoms consistent with the norovirus" on December 14, 2016.

Trudgeon was so ill that she "had difficulties walking by herself and experienced sudden and uncontrollable diarrhea and vomiting on the bed, the carpeted floor and in her clothes," the filing read.

The filing further claimed that while McLean-Phillips was carrying her sister into the bathroom, "diarrhea fell on several areas of the carpeted floor between the bedroom and the bathroom." McLean-Phillips claimed as well that she was not offered another room, and had to share a room with Trudgeon despite the smell of vomit and diarrhea in the space.

McLean-Phillips eventually contracted the norovirus herself after taking care of her sister, per the filing. She said that she suffered from "uncontrolled vomiting and explosive diarrhea" too.

The filing further claimed that "about 339 passengers and 13 crew had directly contracted the norovirus" by the end of the 13-day cruise.

McLean-Phillips' lawyers further wrote in the statement of claim that Carnival should have alerted the passengers of the risks of norovirus and the possibility of an outbreak onboard, and offered passengers refunds or allowed them to rebook their journeys.

Carnival said in court submissions that the chance of a norovirus outbreak is "merely an ordinary risk inherent in activities where people congregate," per news.com.au.

McLean-Phillips is now seeking a full refund and damages for the "inconvenience, distress and disappointment" caused.

Sometimes known as the "cruise ship disease," norovirus is a highly infectious stomach flu that spreads quickly. And with the post-pandemic rebound of the cruise industry, there's also been an uptick in outbreaks of gastrointestinal illnesses on cruise ships.

According to the CDC, there have been 13 norovirus outbreaks reported in the first six months of 2023. This is higher than the 10 cases reported in the whole of 2019.

A Carnival spokesman based in the US referred Insider to its Australia office, but did not immediately respond to a follow-up query about the lawsuit.

McLean-Phillips' lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider sent outside regular business hours.

Correction: August 28, 2023 — This story has been updated to clarify that the passenger — who sailed on the Sun Princess cruise ship — is suing Carnival, and with additional information about the ownership of the Sun Princess cruise ship, which the Carnival Corporation sold in 2020. The main image on the story was also changed from a photo of a Carnival cruise ship to a photo of the Sun Princess cruise ship.

Read the original article on Insider