‘Literally one crawling on me’: Family says bed bugs ruined their cruise

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An Australian woman has recounted her nightmare cruise ship experience after being attacked by bed bugs.

Monica Robertson said she booked “Pacific Encounter” with P&O cruises because she thought it would be the perfect way to celebrate her mum’s 70th.

But the moment they stepped into their room on the cruise liner, they knew something was wrong.

“In the bathroom, there was literally one crawling on me. In the bed I could feel things and peeled back the sheets, and that’s when we saw quite a number of bugs and in the bed with us.

“(It was) A very, very intense itching, an almost burning like sensation. Very hot, then blistered. They eventually were the size of a 50-cent piece.”

Things only got worse as the cruise progressed.

“In the walk-in closet, I had a long black dress hanging with about six or seven small bugs (on it),” Ms Robertson continued.

“I called the stewards in, who took the samples away. It was at that point we called the team leader again and we asked about what was the result from the first bug that they took away, and he declined to answer.”

Ms Robertson said she informed staff and requested a refund but was flatly denied.

“We did go back and ask, you know, can we have that fee waived, we’ve been bitten on your ship. The answer was no, they’re not going to waive it.”

The family were forced to throw out a lot of clothing they had taken on holiday because of the tiny pests.

“We left everything on the lawn. I had to sift through and decide what we could keep and what needed to be thrown away. A majority of things couldn’t be washed,” Ms Robertson said.

A pest report showed no infestation was found in the family’s home.

Ms Robertson lodged a complaint with P&O, who said there was no evidence of bed bugs during room searches and cleans.

Ms Roberston refuted this and said she was “clearly giving them bugs throughout their stay that they could look at”.

The cruise operator offered the family a $377 refund or a $750 future cruise credit.

P&O Cruises Australia told A Current Affair it has “strict and robust health protocols” on its cruise ships.

“The comfort, health and safety of our guests is of upmost importance to us,” a spokesperson said.

“Just like hotels, we have rigorous cleaning processes in place to address and resolve any issues that may arise.”

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