Workers load supplies into the cruise ship Diamond Princess at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama on Monday night. Photo: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
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Oscars, movies help pass the time on cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama

22 Comments
By Elaine Lies and David Dolan

Some cruise ship passengers savored lavish meals; others watched movies or were glued to the live Academy Awards broadcast. The lucky few whose turn it was to get fresh air paced the decks, reveling in a glimpse of blue sky.

Nearly a week into quarantine on the Diamond Princess, tied up at the quay in Yokohama, boredom warred with anxiety as the hours ticked by and 66 more people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total cases on the ship to 136.

Health authorities have said the quarantine will stretch to Feb 19 unless something unexpected happens, meaning deliverance is still more than a week away for the nearly 3,700 crew and passengers, ranging in age from children to octogenarians.

For some, the quarantine could be even longer. A World Health Organization statement on Sunday said the period could be extended "as appropriate" for close contacts of newly confirmed cases.

Many passengers appear to be trying to put on a brave face, flooding social media with photos of food, a young boy and his father snuggling in bed, and shipboard TV broadcasts of a magician - also under quarantine - performing tricks with red silk scarves.

"Princess stepping up its game with food service," wrote passenger Matthew Smith under a photo of plates of food - including heaps of smoked salmon and large pieces of chocolate cake. "You might have to drag me off the ship when the quarantine ends."

Others watched the Oscars, which were broadcast live on Monday morning. Informal ballots were distributed to passengers beforehand, which one person hailed as "Important Mail Delivery!!!"

Aun Na Tan said it had been many years since she had viewed the ceremony live.

"Normally it was on during our work time, but now we have plenty of time," she said.

A 43-year-old Hong Kong resident quarantined with his wife, child and other family members did the same. He declined to give his name.

"We were rooting for 'Parasite'," he told Reuters, referring to the South Korean film that took Best Picture and two other awards. "We are doing origami; the ship is making instructional videos. We are doing some exercise."

Getting off the ship was a relief, even for some who left for the hospital.

"We are in a much more pleasant setting than we were on the ship," said Clyde Smith, 80, from his hospital room in western Tokyo, where he was evacuated after he and his wife tested positive.

"We're doing great, and right now I am looking at Mt Fuji" from the window of the hospital room, said his wife Renee, also 80.

The biggest regrets for the couple, from Atlanta in the United States: having to leave their grandsons, 25 and 23, in the cabin they had shared on the ship, not bringing more changes of clothes and being stuck with Japanese hospital fare.

"I would really love a Big Mac and french fries," Renee said. "I'm getting tired of miso soup."

The Smiths say they aren't worried about their health, as they've shown no symptoms, despite having the coronavirus.

"We’ve had a good life, if things don't work to our advantage on this one - so we feel good about life in general," Clyde said. Asked if this experience would put the two retirees– who have visited all seven continents – from further travels, Renee declared, "Oh, heavens no. This is a little bump in the road."

Back onboard the Diamond Princess, small groups are allowed out on deck every other day but must wear masks and stay well away from other people.

"We're out in the bay, docked, so it's kind of nice," passenger Adam Waltz said in a video showing him and a companion walking briskly under Monday's blue sky, sun flashing off the ocean.

But others were less sanguine. One passenger, with the Twitter name Da, said he or she had talked to younger passengers worried about financial repercussions, such as losing jobs, due to the enforced time off.

More confessed to unease later on Monday.

"There's going to be a shipboard announcement, but I can see ambulances and trucks lining up," Da wrote. "Now we're just waiting for more news from the Health Ministry."

Cruise ship officials said they would expand the entertainment on offer to help passengers pass the time.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

22 Comments
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It seems they were the only ones watching the Oscars.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

OMG.... can I join them, will I be able to watch all those movies for free?

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

There are sick people all over the world, and these are a bunch of relatively rich folks who are sick.

Go visit any hospital in Japan and tell me how the sick and others pass their time!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Shouldn't these people be made to pay at least some of the cost for keeping them there?

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

Shouldn't these people be made to pay at least some of the cost for keeping them there?

Pay for being locked up?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Yubaru Today  07:52 am JST

There are sick people all over the world, and these are a bunch of relatively rich folks who are sick.

Go visit any hospital in Japan and tell me how the sick and others pass their time!

People who are "relatively rich" (whatever that means) are still human beings. Or are we now evaluating people based on how much money we perceive them to have?

Let's judge people on their skin color while we're at it too!

Not to mention, most people in Japanese hospitals aren't exactly poor.

At least if you're in the hospital, you can have visitors. The ones on the cruise ship can't. And most of them aren't even sick.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Among those 66 yesterday were 6 members of the crew succumbing to coronavirus. This is particularly worrying. I wonder what their conditions and spirits are like?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I have friends in China who described in detail how hard it is to be stuck at home for 2 weeks , worrying they might catch the infection and be carted off. And theses people were at home, with their TV and internet , family close by.

Being stuck in a small room, with limited movement, away from friends and family, not knowing if they have the virus or when they might catch it, must be terrible .

Oscars or otherwise , these people have my sympathies..

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Poor folks.  Went on a cruise and are now stuck on the ship for the forseeable future.  Oscars can't help, but even watching decent movies and playing deck quoits and eating onboard catered food must get a bit tiresome, especially on a stationary ship in port.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

love the attitude of the 80 yo couple and the virus is like, yeah nevermind we're good

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I see they're still on the salmon haven't hit the lobster yet

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you know that you'll be leaving on a foreseeable date, 19th Feb. here, there is hope.

I would not say so if they announce one more week to wait though...

It could become more of a story like the Bounty then.

I wonder if the Captain is free of move or not.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I feel for them all. It will be a remarkable story in years to come. And frankly they may not be allowed off the ship for a long time if the incuabation time of the disease is actually 28 days in stead of 15 as chinese doctors on the front line are saying now. and if those who are known to have it have had contact with others and there is no way they have NOT..then those people too will be kept longer and the roll over may continue ad infinituem.

It is a remarkable story. It is fortunate in many ways that the ship was stuck in Japan which is a country taking the threat seriously even tho they still wont force their own citizens to get tested if they refuse. That too may change once people realize how serious this all is. People in the US where I am now are in denial, and trying to ignore it mostly But with modern travel and the fact that 2 million chinese escaped from the center of the threat in the three days before the city was locked down, can and may be anywhere at all. If they have money they may well have left China and the US is a good candidate for where the wealthiest may be now. I feel it is highly unlikely any or many of them will reveal the truth,. Would you? not many people these days would or will do the brave thing when it comes to their own life ..A fascinating chance to study modern culture and how people react in a crisis. thanks for the good coverage here.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The cruise company have agreed to reimburse all the passengers for their cruise tickets.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

love the attitude of the 80 yo couple and the virus is like, yeah nevermind we're good

Well if I lived till 80 and this happened,no doubt I'd be ok with kicking the bucket.Not like I'd feel my life was cut short,is it? Though the husband would like a healthy Big Mac before departing though lol.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Honestly, the Oscars is just a bunch of rich Americans decide what you should like, based on some political agenda. Similarly to Italian Sanremo Festival, that is just ended as well with all its usual idiocy. Anyone with a critical mind would ignore this stuff. But articles like this one look made for making you care at all costs, involving the topic with some unrelated facts. Well, sorry, people who don't care, will continue to ignore this stuff.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Some cruise ship passengers savored lavish meals; others watched movies or were glued to the live Academy Awards broadcast.

"savoured lavish meals",,, "glued" to Academy Awards broadcasts? Who writes this stuff?

These poor people are stuck in a glorified prison, waiting to get infected. Savoured lavish meals. LOL

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Shouldn't these people be made to pay at least some of the cost for keeping them there?

That's the most idiotic suggestion I've ever heard.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Alex80: “Anyone with a critical mind would ignore this stuff.”

says the guy who doesn’t and posts on it. How’s it I related if people in the cruise are watching and enjoying it and it helps them pass the time, being that it’s an article about how people are watching movies and the Oscars to pass the time, and people interviewed said they could enjoy it for the first time in a long time? But hey, Alex, let’s post more about things we should ignore. :)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The article seems to slur people that are able to take a cruise.It is more than a little pathetic.

It is now relatively cheap to do so-this is not the era of the Titanic anymore.

When being stuck in a hospital room is reportedly better than being on a cruise ship then something is patently wrong.

This article has very little to do with the actuality of an enforced quarantine that they are all bearing, in a foreign country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not to mention, most people in Japanese hospitals aren't exactly poor.

You have ZERO idea of what you are talking about! I worked in a group of hospitals here in Japan for well over a decade. I probably have forgotten more about what hospitals here are like that you have ever read in a newspaper or read on a web site somewhere.

Your comment here is 100% wrong!

At least if you're in the hospital, you can have visitors. The ones on the cruise ship can't. And most of them aren't even sick.

WHich goes to show that you would rather have EVERYONE in this country face the risk of getting infected just to appease your ideas of freedom!

THankfully you arent in charge!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

We have two cruises booked for the next few months, with friends. Going to Mexico and Europe. We decided we will just take our chances, and hope for the best. Not going to just sit at home and do nothing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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