A couple from Victoria are demanding a full refund after enduring what they say was a nightmare cruise ship vacation.

Wally and Diane King embarked on Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas last January. Norovirus struck on the second day of the week-long trip from Newark, New Jersey, to the Caribbean.

They were among more than 600 people who got sick on the ship.

"It feels like you are going to die and you wish you could, you know?” says Diane King. “It was just awful. I have never been that sick in my life."

The Kings spent $7,300 on their holiday. Royal Caribbean offered some compensation to passengers, including a 50 per cent refund on the cost, on-board credit, and half-off on another cruise within a year.

The Kings received $1,300 back from Royal Caribbean: In their opinion, it wasn't enough.

Caribbean Cruise Ship Outbreak

Wally and Diane King contracted norovirus on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Explorer of the Seas in January 2014. (Thomas Layer/Associated Press)

"It wasn't a trip or a holiday for us. It was a disaster,” says Diane. “I want to be reimbursed for the whole trip."

In a written statement, Royal Caribbean told CBC News: “We are sorry Mr. & Mrs. King got ill during this sailing and were not able to enjoy portions of their vacation. We recognized that this particular cruise was exceptionally challenging — so much so that our compensation went above and beyond what we normally offer in other circumstances.”

''Our compensation went above and beyond what we normally offer in other circumstances.' - Royal Caribbean Cruises

Sanjay Goel, president of travel agency Cruise Connections, says a full refund is the industry standard for compensation on cancelled cruises. Travellers can buy insurance to fully cover themselves in these sorts of situations.

"The most important thing for anyone to consider no matter what trip you are taking is to take out travel insurance,” says Goel. “That protects their investment against the unforeseen.”

The Kings say they don't blame Royal Caribbean for their illnesses; just for not taking better care of its customers.

With files from the CBC's Richard Zussman