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Spare a thought for cruise ship workers during this coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 09:13 04 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:13 04 April 2020

Brittany Woodman Standing on the Panama Canal with Island Princess in the background. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Brittany Woodman Standing on the Panama Canal with Island Princess in the background. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

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Former cruise ship worker Brittany Woodman is thinking of her former colleagues who are helping passengers in these tough times

During this pandemic there is a lot of news focusing on the cruise industry, with the Diamond and Ruby Princess making headlines. They’ve been hit with high numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths. As a former Princess Crew member, my hearts go out to my former colleagues stuck in these hideous conditions.

I’ve seen many articles about holidaymakers stuck in their cabins with balconies complaining about their ruined holidays and the fact they are still stuck on board despite being advised to for their own safety
and for the safety of other passengers.

Unfortunately there isn’t much mention of the crew members in the news. The Diamond Princess has a passenger capacity of 2,670 and 1,100 crew. That is made up of the captain, officers, medical staff, entertainment, shop staff, chefs, waiters, laundry, cleaning staff and many more.

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Many people don’t know that all crew members are trained for safety and emergencies not just officers and medical staff. Most customer-facing jobs like entertainment or shop workers are half stripe officers and in emergency are just as vital to the safety of the passengers as the officers and captain.

These crew members spend up to six months at a time on board these ships, this isn’t just a place to work it is their home and the passengers are their guests. The crew are a family who love their jobs and whose main priority is their guests’ safety.

I cannot explain the level of commitment you feel to a ship when you’ve live on it! I was part of several onboard emergencies including engine fires and norovirus outbreaks, and I can tell you crew members will go to all ends to ensure the safety of the passengers and their fellow crew members.

So I find it incredibly disheartening the lack of press focused on the crew when many have literally died on the job.

Next time you see an article about some passengers on a luxury holiday, complaining about the food and stuck in their rooms, spare a thought for the staff behind the scenes working ungodly hours, eating leftovers with no windows.

If anyone is lucky enough to go on a cruise when this pandemic ends, please be extra nice to the crew as in an emergency they will be the ones to save your lives.


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