Those aboard the P&O liner Oriana on a 10-night Baltic cruise out of Southampton have reported as many as 400 passengers being struck down with the norovirus winter vomiting bug.
A spokeswoman for P&O's parent company Carnival said there had been "an incidence of a mild gastrointestinal illness" among the passengers. She added that as of today, of 1,843 passengers, "the number of passengers with active symptoms is six".
But passenger Paul Gilman (62), said: "It has been outrageous from start to finish. People were falling like flies, yet the crew were trying to insist everything was fine. Everyone is saying, 'this is a plague ship'. It's a living nightmare."
Another passenger, Brian Weston (67), from the Isle of Wight, said: "It's been a shambles from start to finish. Passengers became ill almost immediately we set sail."