Family welcomed on board luxury cruise liner – by thousands of bed bugs!

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For those readers who find holidays on luxury cruise liners a little claustrophobic I suggest you stop reading this article immediately because it may reinforce your worst fears.

This weekend I read a story in the Alpine press about a court case in which a family from the German region of Nordrhein-Westfalen claimed damages against a luxury cruise liner holiday tour organiser. The court awarded the family 4000 Euros for their hardship (although the case may still go to appeal).

The reason for the award was bed-bugs.

It would appear from the original reports in the German press that literally thousands of bed-bugs in the cabin developed a close bodily affinity particularly towards the father of the family whose bunk was next to one of the portholes. The family had paid Euro 3,700 for an 11 day trip in an ocean facing cabin with a nice sea view.

The father had to endure terrible itching, a thick swollen knee, and bloody pustules over the top part of his body down to his bottom and genitals.

Before long the family discovered the cause of their discomfort – thick ‘cakes’ of bed bugs were found behind the curtains and under the mattress.

According to the family the on-board doctor reacted without emotion and provided an injection, crème and tablets. Eventually the senior steward suggested that the family more to an alternative cabin explaining that he suspected the ‘blood suckers’ may have come on board with towels while the ship was stationed in Brazil a few weeks earlier. In court the tour operator tried to intimate to the judge that the bugs might have been brought on board by the family claiming damages. The judge thought this unlikely and required the operator to pay the family half of the cost of the holiday and the Euro 600 which had been required to clean and disinfect the family’s luggage. Additional damages of Euro 1460 were awarded due to the families discomfort.

It would appear that the tour operator has since taken the vessel out of service.

As we plan our next vacation perhaps we need to make sure we have an appropriate ‘bed-bug’ contingency plan in place. I think I need to scratch!

Sweet dreams (and hope they won’t bite)

Chris Duggleby

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