Lucy, a native of the United Kingdom, aged 31, works in entertainment on the Serenade of the Seas, which is now anchored near the port of Barbados, devoid of its 2500 usual passengers, and accommodates approximately 780 of its crew of 900 people. She takes The Post aboard a ship that floats aimlessly for the foreseeable future.
I have been working in my position on future ships for four years now, still with Royal Caribbean. Crew who work for the company would say #loyaltoroyal.
I love my job: it’s unique, and not one that really translates into something similar on earth. I recently applied to be the director of activities, who is the coordinator of our entertainment team and activities on board, and who is the deputy commander of the cruise director, whom I hope to be one day.
Ships are not for everyone. It’s a difficult life: we work a lot and long hours. But I love what we do. We travel the world, I make people laugh every day and I work and live with like-minded people who love each other.
The last cruise we had with guests was to be a 10-day cruise, but it was reduced to five days due to increased travel restrictions and access to the port. The guests were disembarked on March 17 and since then we have been sailing without guests. I don’t think anyone has the coronavirus on board. We do temperature checks daily and need to report to a doctor if we are experiencing suspicious symptoms.
There were no quarantines with guests on board. From the 17th to the 30th, we were not isolated, but rather simply isolated on the ship because we did not go to the ports. So basically we were all together in our fairly large house. Just before we isolated ourselves, they had moved us away from society, so make sure we weren’t too close to each other, or in groups of more than two people. But on the 31st, we all went into self-isolation in our own separate cabins.
“I consider myself a strong, positive and bubbly person, but I had a blast … it’s almost like a horror film. “
If we weren’t already in our own cabins (like the managers), we were transferred to a guest cabin before locking out, in order to be more comfortable. The couples are isolated together. We are currently on the 10th day of quarantine in a guest cabin and are scheduled to be quarantined for a total of 14 days. I wouldn’t say at any time that I was scared, just because we’re in a bubble here with only the news to see what the outside world is going through, it’s almost like a horror movie in a way.
I can’t imagine what it’s like on earth.
There is basically a skeleton crew working on the ship, or a crucial crew, I should say, to make sure the ship is in working order. So there are people who serve food and drink, doctors, engineers, etc. Before we went into self-isolation, when we weren’t working, we spent most of our time sunbathing and using the pool and the gym, which was great. I organized activities myself to entertain the crew. Obviously, now that we are in an isolated cabin, we cannot use the facilities, but I hope that when the 14 days have passed, we will be able to do it again. We take it every day as it comes because the world is constantly changing.
I would say the worst part of it was when we had to isolate ourselves for the first time, I didn’t do very well. I consider myself a strong, positive and bubbly person, but I broke up. You see, at the beginning, we were told that we were going to isolate ourselves for 72 hours, then it was extended to 14 days. After the first 76 hours, I was transferred to a cabin with a balcony. It’s really difficult to be isolated and it definitely affects your mental health as well as your body. I mean, the whole world is going through the same thing, except that we have a view of the sea.
Since I was quarantined in a guest cabin – about 20 feet by 8 feet, plus the balcony – I have probably been doing what most people do at home. I watch series and movies, read, call friends, family and others on the ship. It is good to check in with people who are going through this also on the ship and at home. I’ve even talked to people I haven’t reconnected with for ages. My friends and I do makeup challenges on certain days. I walked into my room for an hour one day. . . I haven’t done it since.
We have breakfast, lunch and dinner delivered to our room; they are varied and usually come with meat, fish and vegetable options. We get two bottles of water a day, desserts and salad. Meals aren’t bad, but bread and rice are a staple. . . which is great for my weight, but it’s something that I will have to deal with afterwards. I’m just going to have to live in the gym after that. And don’t forget that we have more than 50 different nationalities to satisfy, so sometimes you can get curry for breakfast and you ride with it. We are used to many different foods.
We are currently being taken care of by the company as best it can in these completely strange and uncertain times. We get free Wi-Fi so we can stay in touch with loved ones, and since most of the flights have stopped commercially, they work with the governments of each crew member’s country to arrange charter flights to them. Just two days ago, we took 66 Indonesians on our ship, plus a few from two other ships, and brought them home. Being from the UK, I think I will be here until the commercial flights reopen, even if who knows.
I know, however, that after this self-isolation, I intend to kiss everyone and have a glass of wine.