Sickness Virus hits the AIDA Prima for six

Hundreds of cruise passengers quarantined in their cabins after bug sweeps the decks and leaves them vomiting and suffering diarrhoea

The Aida Prima, pictured, boasts 12 restaurants, 14 bars and cafes and a casino and can carry over 3,000 passengers
AIDAprima

Hundreds of passengers on a luxury Mediterranean cruise were reportedly struck down with a sickness bug that left them quarantined in their cabins.

Around 300 people on board the Aida Cruises ship the Aida Prima were left suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea after a virus is thought to have swept the vessel following its departure from Palma in Majorca on September 22.

The cruise liner had been bound for destinations including Corsica, Rome, Florence and Barcelona.

But it reportedly had to turn back for Majorca after passengers started feeling ill with gastroenteritis, leaving on-board doctors completely overwhelmed and ordering those that were sick to stay in their cabins.

Image result for aidaprima

According to German newspaper Bild, several passengers first started feeling unwell following a planned bus excursion.

Then when all those on board the cruise returned to the ship, the bug quickly spread with some passengers having to wait up to five hours to see the doctor.

Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported that infected passengers were then told to stay in their cabins while they were brought bread and water by staff.

After turning back to Palma earlier than planned, all guests that had been on board were reportedly taken to a farm on the outskirts of the city and told to wait for flights back to Germany.

But it is believed that many refused to stay and took the first flights they could find back home.

The Aida Prima boasts 12 restaurants, 14 bars and cafes and a casino and can carry over 3,000 passengers.

A wave of illness also spread over one of the Prima’s sister ships, the Perla, recently.

Last month dozens of passengers on it fell ill and they were quarantined on board after it moored in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam.

The ship’s German operator Aida Cruises said in a statement that crew increased hygiene measures after ‘gastro intestinal infections occurred among passengers’.

Local emergency services said in a statement that 70 passengers reported feeling sick and received treatment on-board.

Piggybacking on the river boom

Craigslist

By Michelle Baran
Do you ever find yourself, as I often do, reflecting about a seemingly simple concept that has become incredibly successful (like Craigslist, the beyond basic classifieds website now worth hundreds of millions of dollars), and say to yourself, “Drats! Now why didn’t I think of that?!”

As the river cruise market continues to boom, some in the travel industry might be feeling that very sentiment about river cruising. They might have a little case of river cruise envy as it were — “If only I had thought to start building riverboats several years ago,” the regretful might muse.

Michelle Baran
Michelle Baran

But rather than bemoan the fact that they aren’t among the pioneering companies that built up the river cruising market, several factions of the travel industry have instead been working to benefit from the myriad of business opportunities that have arisen in light of the the river cruise industry’s success, and their piggybacking strategy is working.

For instance, the wholesale tour operator Avanti Destinations has been promoting its customizable FIT offerings as pre- and post-cruise city-stays that agents can tack onto a river cruise to increase their earnings.

“We encourage agents to ask their cruise clients about adding extra days — or even a week — to their itinerary,” said Harry Dalgaard, president and founder of Avanti.

“We’ve had clients, for example, who start with a Danube cruise, add a few nights in Vienna, continue on to Salzburg and then head to Florence, the Tuscan countryside and Rome before returning home,” he added.

The result is that Avanti is seeing big booking windfalls in destinations linked to river cruising. In the past year, the company has seen bookings for Bordeaux and Lyon in France increase 85% and 100%, respectively; bookings for Budapest, Hungary, have grown 30%; and for Nuremberg, Germany, bookings have jumped a whopping 175%.

Consequently, Avanti has developed new pre- and post-cruise suggested itineraries geared specifically toward river cruisers, including a three-day Bordeaux package (from $725 per person), a three-day Amsterdam itinerary (from $595 per person), a three-day Nuremberg package (from $329 per person), and a three-day Vienna package (from $515 per person).

Travel agents too are getting in on the action. Several years ago, it was difficult to find any agents that were dedicated solely to the river cruise market or who knew very much about it. But today, there is a growing roster of river cruise specialists, including several that have been featured in Travel Weekly, that have built up an entire agency business and/or website focused only on river cruising.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter whether you had the good idea in the first place. What matters is whether you can make someone else’s good idea work in your favor. The river cruise industry isn’t just one business, it is a ripple effect of businesses and opportunities for those who choose to ride the wake.

Costa has unique ability to present Italy’s many faces

by Tom Stieghorst