Almost 300 remain/Cunard are not happy

A member of staff told me that they expected only 20 or so very frail passengers to remain and now they are lumbered with, I believe, almost 300 who refused to leave. The medical staff had tried to frighten some (I am told) with the fact that they could not guarantee that the ship was clear of the coronavirus. I would have thought if there was a case it would have been the quickest way to clear the ship of passengers. I am now wondering if that was what they were trying to do. I am beginning to get a bit neurotic every time I sneeze in case I have it.

If this is the case, even the frail passengers might have chosen to fly. I am not sure what we would have done Andrew says he would have to be knocked unconscious! Clearly they are unlikely to have ventilators on the ship should they be needed but if you have it and spread it round the world as you fly home that is not very responsible either. It would have been very negligent of the powers that be on the ship to allow us and the crew to wander around Fremantle as we were doing if they had known of a case so I think that is unlikely. There was a cruise ship parked next to us with an Italian flag where people were not getting off.

It all got rather unpleasant at one stage as passengers felt they were being threatened. It is very difficult for the crew as I am sure they are getting orders from above but I think they rather underestimated the stubbornness and determination of their passengers. Fear of flying is very common among cruise passengers and the ship is going back to the UK. Tempers were frayed all round as a senior crew member was heard to mutter that people were refusing to fly for such minor ailments as migraines A lady was told she could die on the ship to which her response was ‘well I will have to die somewhere’.

Others tell me that the medical staff gave up in the end and were resorting to let people stay so long as they signed the waiver about Cunard not being responsible –which according to Andrew does not mean much anyway.

We may not be able to dock in Southampton and people will have to disembark by tender. Certainly it may be very difficult for some, but for many not as bad, when you are confined to a wheelchair, as crossing the world with several stops when there is so much uncertainty about airlines and which countries will allow you in.

At breakfast a boiled egg was no longer on the menu but other than that it was service as normal. Most staff are still smiling although some of the more senior are looking fraught.

I meet two people who have inside cabins who are being given cabins with balconies and I find that the swimming pool on the top deck is open and we can play table tennis. So they are thinking of keeping passengers on side now.

I think they have probably done the best they can in difficult circumstances but it seems that the staff failed to understand that many people go on cruises because of a deep fear of flying and large numbers have significant health problems and are so elderly that even the thought of a 35 hour flight with several changes sends them into a spiral. I met a spry 96 year old who can fly but could not face such a long and difficult flight and would rather take his chance on the ship.

I did manage to have a swim yesterday in glorious weather (hopefully not my last one) in the pool which was deserted as were all the sun loungers.

When I watch what is happening at home I consider myself quite lucky, I might end up being quite good at ping pong as well as bridge but sadly not the dancing.



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