An Aussie couple celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary claim their cruise holiday was ruined when an infestation of bugs took over the P&O ship.
Paul and Kim England had booked the family trip of a lifetime to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Joining the couple was England's mum Judith and son Zac. The couple had paid extra to upgrade to the exclusive Byron Bay club when the swarms of beetles started ‘falling’ on him.
The bugs were spotted both indoors and outdoors, with the insects also found in the Byron Bay Club — the private retreat area of the Pacific Encounter ship.
"I was in the hot tub in the Byron Bay area when these bugs were falling in the jacuzzi," he told Yahoo News Australia. "They were everywhere." England claims that he reported it to staff, but was "fobbed" off.
"The most revolting [thing] for me was they were on the handrails and touched these bugs at the start," he explained. England told Yahoo that the infestation ruined his holiday.
The week-long cruise is set to return back to Brisbane on Saturday after it travelled down to Victoria for the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.
P&O ‘deeply apologises’ for bug mishap
In a letter seen by Yahoo News Australia, passengers were sent a letter on November 10 apologising for the infestation. “We received your feedback regarding the bugs infestation, which we deeply apologise and acknowledge the inconvenience that this has caused,” the letter stated.
After complaints, staff worked to clear the bugs off the whole open deck.
Aussies respond to 'gross' sighting on cruise ship
After an image was posted online, many were quick to express their shock.
"That's revolting! I do hope you complained about it. We are sailing mid next year, hopefully it's all cleaned up by then," one prospective passenger wrote, while another called the swarms of insects "disgusting".
'Harmless' plague solider beetles breed rapidly
The insects are commonly found in southeast parts of the country, with many residents in Victoria and NSW often spotting them in their yards.
Although they are "harmless" to humans — as a cruise passenger pointed out online — plague solider beetles secrete a poisonous venom to protect their eggs which are abundant this time of year.
Scientists found that in one such infestation, 92 per cent of the insects were copulating at once, making them a rapid breeder, according to the Australian Museum.
P&O Cruises Australia declined to comment.
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