As the covid-19 virus has expanded to a global pandemic, cruise lines worldwide have stepped up to do what they can for afflicted communities. Cruise has been among the industries hit fastest and hardest by the economic impact of the virus. However, this hasn’t stopped cruise lines doing their bit to extend a hand in these trying times.
Carnival Corporation, one of the largest cruise lines in the world, has offered governments worldwide use of their cruise ships for hospital beds. The company’s global cruise line brands include Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia. The move is designed to help relieve the immense pressure that healthcare systems around the world.
On their capabilities, Carnival Corporation has said, ‘These temporary cruise ship hospital rooms can be quickly converted to install and connect remote patient monitoring devices over the ship’s high-speed network – providing cardiac, respiratory, oxygen saturation and video monitoring capabilities. In addition to this the rooms also have bathroom facilities, private balconies with access to sun and fresh air, as well as isolation capabilities, as needed.”
Saga Cruises have also offered Spirit of Discovery and Sapphire to the UK government for use as floating hospitals. Meanwhile in Genoa MSC Splendid, operated by GNV, has been fully converted into a working hospital. The conversion took approximately a week and opened up accommodation for the medically afflicted during a time of great pressure on medical facilities.
Cruise line staff have been praised for their extraordinary work supporting afflicted passengers. Hailed as ‘heroes’ by the passengers, the staff of Diamond Princess worked tirelessly around the clock to care for the afflicted people in their charge. Workers on similarly affected ships garnered praise as crew supported the passengers as best they could while ports closed and supplies ran low.
Cruise Critic reports that Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and luxury brand Silversea, have used their final trips to reward their staff. Celebrity Edge upgraded their crew to balcony rooms. Meanwhile, on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas crew members have access to speciality restaurants such as ‘Chops’, usually passenger-only.
Messages of support
Cruise ships that have been berthed for the moment have waved said their goodbyes to passengers and crew with their signature warmth. Marella Discovery 2 sailed in the signature TUI smile and wink before anchoring in Jamaica, while P&O Britannia lit its windows with a message of support for the NHS outside the port at Southampton. Carnival’s Breeze spelled ‘We will be back’ outside its home port of Port Canaveral.
Holland America Line have been signalling their presence around Grand Bahama island by issuing all their anchored ships to sound their horns each night at 7 30 pm. In a statement on their social media accounts the company stated that they were sounding their alarms in solidarity, operating on the positive hashtag #HopeFloats.