Passengers have been battling isolation, fear and boredom on board Photo: AFP
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Love boat: Valentine's Day on a quarantine cruise

11 Comments
By Sara Hussein and Richard Carter

"Cupid's avocado" for dinner, heart-shaped messages for the crew, but also painful separation: for those trapped on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship, Friday is no ordinary Valentine's Day.

Wearing a red dress and a red hair tie, the ship's entertainment manager Natalie posted a Valentine's Day video on Twitter to try to keep spirits up.

"I just wanted to check in with everybody and say that we are all hanging in there, doing fine and keeping together as a big family," she said, admitting with a smile: "This hasn't been my regular attire for the last week or so."

Passenger Matt Smith, 57, was marking Valentine's Day on board with his wife of 21 years, Katherine Codekas, also 57 -- and admitted this was not their first-choice location for the special day.

"After 21 years of marriage, we don't make a big deal of it, but I usually get Katherine a card at least," he told AFP from the ship.

"I think she was a little disappointed with our setting," he added. "Facebook reminded me this morning that three years ago we were in Las Vegas. Way to rub it in!"

Passengers on board were being offered a "Valentine's Day" breakfast, Smith said.

"We were reminded what day it was by the delivery of what the crew member said was a 'special' breakfast," he said. "Not sure why hard-boiled eggs, sausage, and sauteed mushrooms are special."

The dinner menu, on the other hand, promises several special treats in honor of the day.

"Cupid's Avocado and Shrimp salad" to start, followed by "Shrimp Valentine Japanese style with rice and vegetables."

The main course is the French classic Coq au Vin with mashed potato and vegetables, and a "Valentine's Day surprise dessert of the day" is promised.

"Coq au Vin, yes please," tweeted Yardley Wong, who has been posting her efforts to keep her young son entertained on the quarantined vessel.

"A special meal for Valentine's Day, a reserved bottle of red," she added, with her usual hashtag #hanginthereDiamondPrincess and a picture of a bottle of wine.

She also posted a drawing by her six-year-old son for Valentine's Day, with the caption "Stay strong, we are with you Diamond Princess."

American passenger Jackie joked that she had big plans for Valentine's Day on the cruise, which has proved far from the gala holiday everyone planned.

"We're going to have a formal night on Valentine's Day in our cabin. Take some pics, have some laughs," she tweeted.

Another passenger cut out paper hearts and left them on her door for the crew to read, with messages including: "Thank you for all your hard work" and "Thank you for taking care of us."

More than 200 people on board the ship have been diagnosed with the newly named COVID-19 and taken to local hospitals. Those remaining on board will be in quarantine until at least Feb 19.

While passengers are battling isolation, fear and boredom, some members of the crew have voiced concerns about their conditions, including eating together and sleeping two to a cabin.

But the coronavirus has also ripped some couples apart for Valentine's Day, including at least one on their honeymoon.

Kent Frasure was forced to say goodbye to his partner Rebecca, who has contracted the virus and is now in isolation in hospital.

"We said 'goodbye, see each other later' and gave each other a hug. We didn't have a goodbye kiss because we didn't really know what was going on," Kent told CNBC. "Then I watched her walk down the hallway, turn the corner and then she was gone."

© 2020 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


11 Comments

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Bad headline, making light of a very serious situation.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Love boat? Oh please. This people are scared they will die from a contagious virus. The head line writers are trying too hard.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

But the coronavirus has also ripped some couples apart for Valentine's Day, including at least one on their honeymoon.

Kent Frasure was forced to say goodbye to his partner Rebecca, who has contracted the virus and is now in isolation in hospital.

"We said 'goodbye, see each other later' and gave each other a hug. We didn't have a goodbye kiss because we didn't really know what was going on," Kent told CNBC. "Then I watched her walk down the hallway, turn the corner and then she was gone."

I hope their story ends a happy one!

14 ( +14 / -0 )

C'mon, it's not appropriated to express the headline of this column like this. It isn't Hollywood movies where Titanic disaster or transformation of passenger to be a zombie all of them will be due to infection. I worked on board of ships several times and I think a word can explain, it's "resort" what has couple of meanings.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The passengers and crew are in great stress and probably just want to get off and go home and forget the whole episode. Many elderly couples separated.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

♪♪ The love boat soon will be making another run.

The love boat promises "something" for everyone ♪♪

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Stop the BS propaganda that the boat is actually a nice place to be, I wouldn't wish my worse enemy on it. Japan is trying to gloss this over as a romantic extended holiday when it is a quarantine!

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

Maybe it's just me, but the daily articles about this cruise ship are getting rather tedious!

Everyone in the entire world who watches any news about this virus are aware of the situation, and there is no need to romanticize it either!

This virus is a deadly serious issue!

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

"Don't kiss me!"

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

This headline and article made me want to throw up. Its a disgusting piece of Japanese propaganda. They are adding insult to injury. This whole article sounds to me like they’re making fun of those victims.

Calling this quarantine ship A love boat is basically the Japanese news agencies rubbing those poor people’s faces into their plight.

Anyone watching international news knows that the people on the ship's (as well as the international commmunity’s) criticism of Japan is mounting over its handling of this situation. And the Japanese news agencies are stupid enough to poke fun at their plight by calling it a love boat? Seriously??

Here's what the people on the boat are REALLY saying. Thank you BBC

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-wXsVC9RWc

this headline and article is just disgusting. Very offensive.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

If Premier Shinzo Abe was able to quickly convert the Izumo to become an aircraft carrier then why not make it a temporary hospital ship for the passengers of the Diamond Princess?

In parallel while the USA have no problem sending aircraft carriers anywhere for military purposes it's da-kine incredible that President Trump didn't let the USNS Mercy rescue the American passengers treated as virtual zombies who are now exposed to the new coronavirus !

It's so sad that the dehumanization of mankind makes this Valentine's Day another Day of Infamy!

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

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