Getting COVID-19 on a cruise ship is, as you might’ve guessed, absolutely awful. If you are so bold as to contemplate boarding a cruise ship during a global pandemic, maybe this report from the Washington Post will dissuade you. Apparently, if you test positive onboard (which, again, is highly likely), you’re reportedly facing days on end in an isolation cabin where you may or may not be served a molding orange for lunch.
Per passengers and staff who tested positive for COVID-19 while at sea, the conditions of the quarantined people onboard are less than ideal. The main complaint seems to be the food. While some passengers were incensed their only option was room service (as opposed to the haute cuisine that can typically be found on cruises, I guess?), others complained of waiting hours for cold food and finding it impossible to get in touch with the room-service phone line.
And then there’s the meals themselves, which sound like a Fyre Festival–inspired collection of culinary nightmares. One staff member said he got a rotting orange, a seafood salad, and an orange slice as a meal followed shortly by a hard-boiled egg and corned beef with rice. Another woman said her room service was left outside the door while the hallway was being blasted with airborne cleaning chemicals.
Of course, none of this is made more tolerable by their surroundings, which include windowless rooms and a “stripped-down” cruise cabin embellished with only a bar of soap in the bathroom (but no toilet paper).
Even more concerning is the fact that most passengers report witnessing utter chaos when it came to tracing and isolating COVID-19 cases. Some staff members who came in contact with a positive case but were negative themselves were required to work but spend the rest of their hours in isolated rooms. It’s unclear how long anyone quarantined or how frequently they were being tested. One passenger said “it was like they didn’t know what to do” when she and her mother tested positive, and another said he had to argue his way into getting a test while experiencing symptoms. No cruises are required to test fully vaccinated passengers before they disembark.
Cruises, unsurprisingly, have been petri dishes for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. The CDC is urging even vaccinated people to refrain from hopping on a boat with 3,000 or so other people, but none of that has deterred a significant handful of optimistic vacationers. I guess there’s one thing you can say about cruise companies: They sure are persistent.