Cruise holidays: Guests ‘vomiting’ and ‘in agony’ on a luxury cruise

Couple recall being struck down with Norovirus on cruise

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Channel 5’s When Posh Holidays Go Horribly Wrong spoke to holidaymakers whose dream holidays ended in disaster. From Covid nightmares to terrible cruises, these tourists faced complete chaos.

For most Britons, a luxury holiday is a dream experience. As one interviewee told Channel 5: “There are three things I expect from a five star holiday – luxury, luxury and luxury!”

But that wasn’t the case for Peter Hayman and Christine Barnwell from Bedfordshire who had saved up for months for their holiday of the lifetime.

The couple’s dream cruise to see the Northern Lights, didn’t quite work out as they’d planned.

The unfortunate pair met at an event for retirees of the London Ambulance service and fell in love.

Although they normally spent the summer at a relative’s apartment in Tenerife, the British couple decided to splash out in 2020.

Peter said: “I just mentioned that I’d love to see the Aurora Borealis. It’s been my one thing, ever since I was a kid I wanted to see them.”

Christine booked the couple a Northern Lights cruise through Saga which included two excursions to see the Lights.

The once in a lifetime cruise cost the couple a whopping £7,500 and they spent more money on cold weather clothing.

However, they then received the shocking news that their departure would be delayed due to an outbreak of norovirus on the ship.

Christine said: “I did pack a bottle of bleach and a pair of rubber gloves and the first thing I did when we got to our cabin, I went round and bleached everything.”

Peter especially wanted the cruise to be perfect as he had devised a plan to ask Christine to marry him on the dream voyage.

However Peter’s huge plan was soon affected by another outbreak of norovirus on the ship, which was soon hitting 20 passengers per day.

Christine said: “On the day we got to Tromso, we went to breakfast in the morning, and as we were going back to our cabin, I said to Peter ‘I feel a bit queasy’.

“And by about 2pm, I was violently sick and having diarrhoea and I felt absolutely dreadful, it was awful.”

The trouble wasn’t over as Peter was soon also brought down by the norovirus.

He said: “I had a raging headache, a vicious temperature, I was vomiting. I had diarrhoea and I was in agony from my stomach.”

Where should you go on your next holiday?

Now that the world has opened up again it’s time to pack those suitcases and head off on a well-deserved adventure. Where should you be jetting off to? Take our quiz and find out.


With endless culture, gorgeous beaches and weather to die for, Greece is a great choice both for romantic getaways and family trips. Wander the historical streets of Athens and Thessaloniki or head to an island to soak up the sun – the choice is yours.


It may be far away but it’s definitely worth the trip. Japan has sprawling metropolises, stunning scenery, and a rich history and culture to boot. Check out the cities of Kyoto and Tokyo and make sure to get your fill of their world-famous cuisine while you’re in town


Hop across the pond and experience an array of cultures, climates, cuisines and more. You can leave the phrasebook at home and get truly immersed in everything that this sprawling nation has to offer, from the Grand Canyon to the Statue of Liberty


With some of the best food around and boasting the world’s most romantic city, France is a great choice if you’re in a hurry. Be in its glorious capital in just hours, grab a pain au chocolat and practice your language skills while wandering along the banks of the Seine


La dolce vita is calling! With its stunning views, fascinating history and world-famous Neapolitan pizza, Italy is a great choice, whether you’re after an adventure or want to dive into a big bowl of spaghetti


A little off the beaten track, Morocco boasts stunning architecture, winding street markets to get lost in, and beautiful landscapes. Soak up the sun in Marrakech or head to Chefchaouen for one of the most unique experiences a holiday-maker can have

The Caribbean

Sun, sea and sand – what’s not to love? Head to the Caribbean if you really want to unwind. With plenty of picturesque locations to choose from, from the streets of Havana to the beaches of Grenada, you’re sure to find something that fits your holiday dreams.


When most people think ‘holiday’, sunshine and relaxation comes to mind – but a different kind of trip can be just as rewarding. Splash around in the Blue Lagoon and try your luck at catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights. This is definitely one for the bucket list.


India is well worth a visit if you have some time to spare. With an array of different cultures coexisting in this vast and vibrant nation, as well as gorgeous food to be enjoyed at every turn, you’ll find yourself immersed in the experience. Take a trip to the Taj Mahal for that jaw drop moment

Swiss Alps

If snow sports are your thing, then this mountainous region is perfect for you. Venture down the powdered slopes and warm your hands at the après-ski afterward. Perfect for a group of friends, a romantic trip, or even some time with the kids – if they can stand the cold!

What kind of holiday do you like best?

What’s your budget?

How long do you have for your trip?

Who’s going on the trip?

How are your languages skills?

What’s your ideal climate?

Which is top of your bucket list?

The couple missed out on their dream excursion to see the Northern Lights, as they were confined to their cabin with the disease.

Despite the disaster, Peter still managed to make his proposal which Christine happily accepted.

A spokesperson for Saga said: “We are very sorry that the cruise did not meet the expectations of Ms Barnwall and Mr Hayman and have apologised to them.

“We have been in regular contact with Ms Barnwall and Mr Hayman and we are pleased that we have been able to resolve their complaint.

“Our first priority is the health and safety of our guests, our crew and the localities into which we sail.

“We have in place detailed operating procedures to deal with norovirus and follow the highest standards of cleanliness and health and safety to ensure the wellbeing of our guests and crew.”

When Posh Holidays Go Horribly Wrong aired on Channel 5 at 6:30pm Sunday April 3.

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