Ovation of the Seas Sydney: Gastro outbreak

December 7, 2017
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The ill-fated cruise liner which was struck down with several hundred cases of gastro along its two week journey has finally docked back in Sydney after what was undoubtedly a long fortnight for some unlucky passengers.

An ambulance was on standby for the arriving Ovation of the Seas cruise ship as it pulled in at Sydney Harbour as a precaution for two passengers who were still fighting their gastro symptoms.

Charles and Maria Parisi from Peakhurst said the crew did everything possible to ensure the outbreak didn’t spread.

“They restricted everything — there was no self-serve, no samples, the shops were all closed except for one,” Maria, 59, said. “You couldn’t even make your own coffee.”

The husband and wife said they’ve both worked at hospitals with Charles, 60, currently working at RPA.

“Infection is common when you have that many people in one place but the level of infection control on board was over the top,” Mr Parisi said. “It wouldn’t have even been controlled like that at RPA.

“They even closed down the interactive artwork because they didn’t want anyone to touch anything,” Mrs Parisi said.

Mrs Parisi said the cleaning was intensive and continuous and that his sister got sick.

“We didn’t see her for 3 or 4 days,” she said.

“There’s so many people packed in there,” Mr Parisi said. “Maybe if there’s less people they wouldn’t have had the problem.”

Kim Foster, 55, said the crew were amazing and that people were to blame for spreading illness rather than the ships or practices.

“This happens on every ship to some degree, it’s just people not washing their hands and not being clean,” she said. “They were really good — they were even disinfecting the salt and pepper shakers.”

Debbie Foster said she got sick twice while on board but could not complain as the staff were so accommodating.

“You couldn’t fault what they did and how they handled it,” she said. “They can’t individually make sure people’s individual hygiene is good.”

Debbie, who works as a lab tech for a pathologist, said the staff didn’t hush anything up and that the captain kept them informed every step of the way.

“It’s just one of those unfortunate things where maybe the conditions were just right,” she said. “Even in the bar they had people on sanitation duty and they were washing the railings on every floor.”

Debbie said she was only “down for a night” and that anyone who was sick were given all sorts of good, free treatment and free movies.

Debbie’s husband David, 53, said he had a ‘cast iron’ stomach and that trick to avoiding the sickness was red wine.

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