Some tourists might welcome an extra two weeks of holiday on a luxury cruise ship. But imagine being confined to a cabin of 14 square meters with no windows, little access to fresh air and only wifi and the TV for entertainment, for weeks.
Coronavirus has led to massive travel disruptions and the cruise industry has been particularly affected. Two ships were in quarantine, cruises have been cancelled, itineraries suddenly changed – and some have been sailing for weeks with no passengers. Or, in the terrible saga of the cruise ship the Westerdam, refused entry into several countries including Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand. The disruption is affecting not only thousands of passengers who have lives to return home to, but also crew who and are unable to go home to their families for well-earned breaks.
My husband is just one of the thousands of cruise line employees who have been affected by the travel disruptions caused by COVID-19. Although he is not on a ship currently in quarantine, his ship terminated the cruise in the middle of a journey to Taiwan (with 4,000 passengers suddenly needing flights home from Australia). Hopefully, he will be able to come home in March, but he is unsure about when and where he will be able to return to work as his ship was due to cruise out of Taiwan for months.