An actress on board a luxury cruise ship have filed a lawsuit over their "horrific experience" on board.
Connie Flores, who had a small role in Noah Baumbach's Oscar-nominated Marriage Story, and her husband Alvin Flores claim they were attacked by bed bugs which infested their stateroom on board the Princess Cruises ship.
The couple, who were on board the ship over the thanksgiving weekend from November 28 until December 4, 2018 to celebrate their anniversary, say their bedding was covered with bed bugs, that left Mrs Flores with such severe bites she needed to be hospitalised.
"My husband and I thought we were going on our dream vacation for our wedding anniversary. Never did we imagine that we would be trapped on a ship with a room infested with bedbugs," Ms Flores told USA Today in a statement.
"This was a horrific experience, and no one should ever go through such pain and trauma. This ordeal has prompted us to be advocates and bring awareness to people who have been exposed to bed bugs."
The pair reportedly shared footage of their stay, which shows the bed bugs crawling on pillowcases and mattress in their room aboard the Emerald Princess cruise ship. After reporting the infestation to staff on-board the ship, Mr Flores said their request to be moved was delayed.
"When they were fully aware of bed bug infestations on the vessel, failure to take reasonable measures to eliminate all bug infestations, and to remediate the bed bug infestation contamination, was so extreme and outrageous as to go beyond all bounds of decency," the couple's complaint said, who are seeking $US75,000 ($113,000) in damages.
The couple are reportedly alleging the cruise line was "negligent, wanton, reckless" after they failed to deal with pest control aboard the ship effectively, resulting in the pair suffering from "pain" and "emotional distress".
The bedbugs latched onto the (couple) while they slept and sucked their blood until they were gorged," the lawsuit, filed in US District Court in California, read.
"(The couple) suffered from numerous bites and skin rashes, which caused pain, discomfort, annoyance sleeplessness, inconvenience, humiliation, anxiety and emotional distress." The couple alleges employees and medical staff both refused and delayed their requests for care and a new room.
Princess Cruises said while they're "sorry" to hear of the Flores' experience on board the Emerald Princess ship, the spokesperson said staff were highly trained to identify cases of bed bugs in rooms.
"Given that this is an open lawsuit, we are limited in what information we can share right now, however it is worth noting, our room attendants are highly trained to identify bed bugs and ALL staterooms are thoroughly inspected each month as a preventive measure," Negin Kamali, Princess Cruises Director of Public Relations, told NBC 7.
"By virtue of how the cruise vacation experience is designed, our staterooms receive considerably more cleaning attention by our room attendants than a hotel room on land (twice a day, including evening turndown service along with a thorough cleaning – including changing linen at the end of each cruise). It would be highly unusual for the presence of bed bugs to go unnoticed for more than the length of one cruise."
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped creatures that feed solely on the blood of animals, including humans. At night time they scurry over to your peacefully sleeping body looking for a good feed.
These crafty critters have a long beak and they use it to pierce your skin and suck up your blood. There's a mild anaesthetic in their saliva, so you don't feel them bite when you're asleep.
Their bodies are flat when they're hungry, but they swell up to the size of apple seeds when they're full. It takes about three to 10 minutes for them to feed and get fully bloated from their victim.
After a satisfying meal, they typically rest for three to five days before coming back for another night time feast, but if there are enough bugs in your house, they'll take it in turns so you'll get bitten every night.
Scratching yourself awake is never pleasant and your day will be preoccupied with finding multiple welts all over your body. Allergies and mosquitoes are often blamed for these itchy red marks, while bed bugs tend to be forgotten and live to bite another day.