Having a group of strangers in an enclosed cruise ship at sea with no sight of land for 4, 5 or more days can lead to a never-ending combination of unforeseen circumstances. What mood are the people in? What is the weather like? Are the seas calm? What condition is the cruise ship in?
A clue of reading how well a cruise is going to go is the first formal night, if most people dress up the cruise will be fine, if most people don’t dress up the cruise will also be fine. However, if there is a mixture, we are likely to be in for trouble.
The dreaded announcements always began ‘ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking’. Most non-essential announcements would be made by somebody else, so if it is the captain you know there is trouble brewing. What happened next would usually be decided on how easily understood the captain was. If he (or she) spoke clearly using words people understood we would be fine but if they mumbled, were overly technical or had dodgy English the phones would be ringing for hours. The complaints would come before the announcement had even finished.
‘what is he saying’
‘I don’t know, I can’t hear it either as you are yelling at me’
It could be bad weather is coming, it could be a technical problem with the ship, it could be a problem in a port meaning we can’t go, it could be an outbreak of illness. Either way, we escaped quickly as there is nothing that can be done and we all know how ugly it gets.
In my time at sea, we sailed through force 12 storms, had a fire, ‘lost’ people overboard, got detained by various local authorities, had people arrested, several deaths, any number of power failures but even after all that the idea of the entire ship being quarantined in Japan (one of the strictest countries cruise ships go to) is something of unimaginable horror.
There is no doubt, the guests will be well looked after. Yes, they are stuck inside but sitting on a balcony for two weeks in beautiful weather while people are paid to bring you food and drink three times a day is hardly the ‘prison’ the news are making it out to be. What nobody seems to be focussing on is how terrible this must be for the people who work onboard and are also quarantined. Nobody is coming to relieve them; the workload is the same, the social rooms will be closed, every conversation will be full of questions nobody knows the answers to and there is no hope of shore leave.
So, lets think not only of the people ‘imprisoned’ in five star luxury but the people working 14 hours a day (for no extra money) keeping them in this luxury. The crew of the Diamond Princess are nothing short of amazing.