Still Stuck at Sea

Voyager of the Sea, Manila, Philippines
Voyager of the Sea, Manila, Philippines

(Part 2)

This article is an extension from part one of what it has been like to be stuck at sea on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas, during this global pandemic. We’ve been away from land for 44 days now, but I’d like to take a step back from where I left off, in Port Kembla, Australia. To reiterate as in my first article, my intention to be both politically correct and as transparent as I am allowed to be still remains pertinent. I hope to paint a vivid picture and humanize the crew members onboard various cruise ships around the world that have been scrutinized by the media and restricted by the governments. Once again, I will only share factual information that has already been published by Royal Caribbean International or is public knowledge from news and governmental websites. As time has progressed and desperation to return home has increased, I’d like to also incorporate how other crew members on the ship are handling the situation, not just my own perspective. Hopefully in doing so I can yield sympathy and maybe even be a small voice, specifically for American citizens, to help get us home.

To clarify, I am speaking for myself and other American citizens that have asked to be a part of my article. However, I’d still like to recognize that everyone’s feelings about remaining onboard versus going home are unique to their own situation, and I definitely do not want to generalize us all. I will say, however, the overall consensus from crew members worldwide is the desperate desire to return to their families, regardless of the rapid spread in their hometowns.

To backtrack, on April 3, 2020, the day following Port Kembla, we began our journey out of Australia towards Asia, directed particularly at Indonesia and the Philippines. We were also informed that we would be meeting up with our sister ship, Celebrity Solstice, and taking on their Filipino and Indonesian crew members to bring them home. The hope was for all crew members, of all nationalities, to be able to debark in Bali. However, if not, at least the Indonesian and Filipino nationals, who make up roughly half of our crew, could be directly shuttled home.

On April 4th, 2020 Royal Caribbean International announced the fleet-wide initiative of a mandatory 14 day cabin quarantine for all onboard, non-working crew members (Royal Caribbean Press Center).

The following day, we anchored off the coast of Sydney, Australia and tendered roughly 380 Celebrity Crew members onto our ship. As the non-working Voyager crew, we watched the transition from the confinement of our cabins, surrounded by police, maritime, and military authorities on land, air, and sea.

New South Wales police lead the largest maritime operation that took place in Sydney harbor to coordinate the provisioning and crew movement of five cruise ships. “Operation Nemesis”, as they called it, was assisted by the Port Authority of NSW working closely with Royal Caribbean Cruise lines to help coordinate the movement of crew between ships to return home (NSW Incident Alerts).

April 5th, 2020: Cabin Quarantine Day 7

Surrounded by police and military from all directions, I felt nothing more than a common criminal. Our every move was monitored, as if this was a maximum-security prison. We watched from our windows as about 380 Celebrity crew members were tendered onto our ship, bringing them one step closer to home. The hope in bringing them onto the Voyager of the Seas was to at least get local citizens home, even if all nationalities were not able to debark there. As my heart pours out in hope for them, the depressive feelings of my own likely hood of getting home anytime soon increases every day. Why were we not transferred onto a ship that was headed towards the United States? Is it because they are a majority here and the number of Americans on board this ship may be less than 20? I try not to dwell on the whys and why nots, because ultimately, it is out of my control. That sentence, “it is out of my control” is the worst feeling in all of this; no matter what I want or what I try to accomplish, there is in fact, nothing I can actually do to get myself home. My hope and ability to stay positive is dwindling with each wave taking us all the way around the world, but not anywhere near my country. To be blunt, I don’t have faith that Bali will be a gateway for us. If countries are closing their boarders, how are we meant to fly, either by commercial airline or charter flight to get ourselves home? How can we be guaranteed a safe return home and to not be pulled out of line in a connecting airport and be forced to isolate in some country where we may not even be able to speak the language. How are they going to ensure I’m not stuck in an unsafe place in the world. We’re surrounded by the media telling stories of people getting shot in countries we are heading to, people protesting their anger for cruise ship workers not to step on land; well that’s comforting. I’d love to be positive, but right now I am planning for the long haul. If only the food could be better, this would be more manageable, maybe my emotional status would be healthier. Why am I eating rice and bread three times a day, when other ships have colorful plates of food and we just took on new provisions in Port Kembla a few days ago? Perhaps it is again because we are not the majority here. I’m going to choose to not even go into depth on the quality of the food we are being given, that’s a whole different battle, that I’m not ready to fight.

(Quarantine log excerpt)

The next few days in cabin isolation passed by slowly. They were particularly unremarkable. As we came to the halfway point of isolation, my positive, go-getter attitude that was present in the beginning quickly went on a downward slope. I apologize for the tone of this article, but the truth of my reality is rather hard for me to swallow. The meals were below average; a form of rice and bread present at every meal. My energy and motivation level to workout reflected the quality of nutrition in my meals, or the lack thereof.

“This is mentally exhausting, that’s the only way to put it. I have used this first phase to power through, take advantage of reflection, manifest new goals, and embrace the ‘stillness’ but the fact of the matter is that it is now past the point of ‘getting through’ and surviving. As an aspect of mental health, this is dangerous. We do not have access to small things that are able to act as mood boosters when facing a challenging time. Simple aspects that are not talked about: eating just lettuce and hoping there is a “vegetable of the day” not covered in oil, having access to daily vitamins, not having reliable internet, and lack of any human contact. It has all added up and is becoming too much. We can only power through this for so long without losing hope, because every time we are given an inch, they make it one more mile.”

– Taryn Martin, Voyager Production Cast, U.S. Citizen

Let’s sidebar for a second – as an athlete in this situation, the amount of movement and physical exercise we can get in a small cabin is minimal. We’ve all at once taken the amount we usually workout daily, topped with types of foods with a lack of nutritional value, that most of us never eat regularly. Our jobs are our bodies. Let me say that again, our jobs are our bodies. More than the average person, the pressure for us to look a certain way and have the ability to bounce back with the industry is ever present. If we want work as soon as the world goes back to normal, we have to look the part. Yes, everyone in the world is initially judged by their appearance, unfortunately. But more so, in an industry well-known to represent a large percent of people with body image issues, the pressure to look a certain way is in itself overwhelming and difficult to maintain in this environment. I can only speak for myself, but this process is fueling a negative image of my own body, that I feel I have limited control to change. This time, more than ever, I’m working to remind myself and others around me that a person’s worth doesn’t run parallel to their appearance.

In other news, on April 7th, 2020 (day nine of cabin quarantine) Royal Caribbean began delivering a daily fleet-wide message that included a memo from the Miami office as well as our captain and another senior leader on rotation. These daily video updates from Miami and our onboard leadership team only lasted about a week. Nevertheless, on this day, the captain came on to explain his top two initiatives: health and crew movement. He also worked to eliminate rumors and fake news to provide the crew with actual information that concerned us, which was greatly appreciated. As well, our onboard HR manager delivered a reassuring message of their goals to debark all citizens to their home countries from Bali, Indonesia.

During this process of crew reparation, the company has allowed us to change our returning city to accommodate us in these extreme circumstances in order to have an opportunity to return home. This is a privilege that someone of my standing doesn’t normally have access to.

Attached with this message was an announcement to crew members onboard all ships in the fleet from Mark Tamis, Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations in Miami. He reassured us that we are important and that the Miami head office is working tirelessly to get us home. He attempted to deliver a message of hope that we are all family in our “home away from home”, and he was successful. For a brief moment, a part of me felt like things were going to be okay.

At this point, there were 1428 people onboard with the new crew members from Celebrity Solstice. Because of the new numbers onboard and the isolation procedures, we were instructed by Maritime Safety and Marine Operations to run an audible drill for the crew members onboard to ensure a safe procedure in the event that an emergency was to occur. We were not to leave our rooms, just to understand and be reminded of our emergency duties, as far as practical (SOLAS).

On the 11th day of cabin quarantine, I still couldn’t seem to shake the feeling of being trapped. Over these past few days it’s been a downward spiral, with glimpses of desperation and reaches for hope. At around 9pm that night, I started to feel a heaviness on my chest building. The internet was disconnected for the next four hours so calling my family to calm me down wasn’t an option.

April 9th, 2020: Cabin Quarantine Day 11

We have two more days until we are released from our full cabin isolation. People keep asking me at home if I am excited, “you get to go out and walk around, you must be so thrilled?” To be completely honest, it’s difficult to get enthusiastic because I don’t know what’s coming next. I’m discouraged and it is seemingly never ending. Everything that we had been originally told has been taken away from us, as a precaution and following the governmental orders, but nevertheless, it’s one thing after the next. There are rumors that we will only be let out for a few hours a day, like a dog being let out on a walk. I’m hoping that this isn’t the case, I would just like to return to some semblance of normal life. Beyond that, I’m not sure I see the light at the end of the tunnel; we still don’t know when or where we can get off.

(Quarantine log excerpt)

On the last day of cabin isolation, the ship decided on a detailed plan for phase two: social distancing. This plan outlined the times and guidelines for meals, temperature checks, shop opening hours, laundry restrictions, sanitation guidelines, social distancing requirements etc. However, at around 10pm on the last night of our 14-day isolated quarantine, we were informed that we would be extending this period for another 72 hours out of precaution. We were let out of our cabins for two hours a day, one in the morning and one hour at night, but that was it. We went in groups according to deck numbers, so there were less people walking around and socializing with one another to keep the distance. I was so angry; in a state of rage that I didn’t know I could get to. I was tired of the excuses, tired of being a number, and now, I was let out for walks like an animal. I know this wasn’t the intention of the company, in fact it is quite lovely that they trying to give fresh air to those without balconies, but the positive mentality has been hard to keep.

In the morning on April 15th, 2020, we began our 72-hour precautionary extension with daily let outs, one in the morning and one in the evening. We were required to wear our masks provided and to keep social distance.

April 16th, 2020, we arrived in Bali, Indonesia where 232 Indonesian crew members were allowed to return home. They all tested negative and were medically cleared. The isolation requirements that they were instructed to fulfill once they arrived on land, I am unaware of and cannot speak to.

This same evening, all international and Indian crew members received information that we would be transferring to Ovation of the Seas, and headed towards the Middle East. The plan was for us to drop off the Indian crew members in one of their home ports, and attempt to sail over to an international hub in the Middle East for flights (very vague, no real plan set in place besides crew transfer). For all cruise division crew members, we had time slots to remove all of our belongings out of our crew cabin, and sanitize and restore them to their original status. We would later have a regular sign-off cabin inspection before transferring ships the next day. Because we were still in isolation, we were allowed to be out just to complete this moving process, then were required to return to our guest cabins for the night.

The following day, we completed our 72-hour precautionary isolation extension and were permitted to leave of our cabins for this new phase two plan following strict social distancing guidelines. However, the plan of crew movement and repatriation had changed again.

Instead of all international and Indian crew members transferring over to Ovation of the Seas to head towards India and the Middle East, now only Indian crew members would be moving, and they would be doing so later that day. All international non-working crew members would instead be remaining on Voyager of the Seas, and head towards Manila, Philippines, in yet another attempt to head home. This meant that the Filipino crew members from Voyager and from Celebrity Solstice would be taxied to their homes, and Royal Caribbean would attempt to negotiate International travel for the rest of us.

We said goodbye to 129 of our fellow Indian crew members as they transferred to Ovation of the Seas, and began our journey towards Manila, Philippines. We were told we would arrive there on April 22, to await the next assessment and plan based on the Filipino local government.

The world changes by the minute, and every day we hear of another modification, another restriction, another antidote from someone in our same position that was so close to making it home but was hit with yet another setback. Governments around the world are refusing to let cruise ships with crew members on them into their countries merely just to use their airports to go home. The ironic part of it is that cruise ships (at least I can speak for those in the Royal Caribbean fleet) are complying with multiple government’s isolation and quarantine protocols. We have been segregated from the rest of the world, with no new contact, therefore no new connection for spread of the virus. We have been following strict sanitation procedures and have consistently received twice daily temperature checks. In this difficult time, we cannot even get a hug from a friend because we are restricted by social distance policies and mask wearing. We are quite literally, in the safest environment on Earth, health wise. But alas, we are still stranded because governments around the world are not letting crew members leave just go home.

“Why are we less important than the people traveling and working abroad or all the passengers (the very ones we worked tirelessly to make sure their cruise vacations were memorable) we had on all our ships around the world, why do they get the priority to make it home? And yet, we’re barred all around the world to even try and get off the ship to head home. Do we not matter? 

-  Melissa Lissner, Voyager International Ice Cast, U.S. Citizen

In general, my days improved, specifically because I was allowed to walk around, pick my own food from the Windjammer buffet, get a coffee, and workout outside. This was the first time I had a salad in over two weeks, and my body needed it. We were still required to wear are masks at all times when socializing, maintain social distance, and be in our rooms for our twice daily temperature checks.

April 18th, 2020:

This is the best day I have had since all of this started. Maybe it’s because I’ve been deprived of decent food, a good cup of coffee, and any socialization with people I care about that my standards have lowered – but today was a really good day. I had a salad for dinner, with French fries, and a coconut cookie! I actually had a salad with the minimal vegetables they had, but finally something healthy. I had a double shot latte, not with almond milk because they ran out, so my stomach wasn’t extremely happy, but I had a real coffee for the first time in 17 days. I also had my first glass, well, plastic cup, of wine in a socially distant setting with my mask returning over my face once I was finished. The only thing I’d love now is a hug. I can’t wait until I can finally have physical contact with someone. Through all of this difficulty and emotionally draining period, it has been so challenging to be restricted from having any sort of physical comfort from a friend or family member. But, it was one good day, I will take it.

(Quarantine log excerpt)

The next few days passed as we sailed towards Manila, waiting anxiously for more information on our status to return home. I tried to create a new normal; wake up, coffee, temperature check, lunch, blog or creative activity of some sort, temperature check, workout, dinner, socially distant hangout, sleep, repeat. I did my best to fill my time socializing with others, having that human interaction to counteract my anxiety about this uneasy time. For everyone around the world, going through this global pandemic, every day is a strange mixture of normalcy, anxiety and emergency all at once. My emotions are up and down, and even in the calm days, I find moments of panic. I think many of us, regardless of where we are and what our situation is in the world, can relate.

“As an American still stuck onboard, the word that best describes how I feel is frustrated. At times, it’s very easy to feel forgotten. We have been sailing without guests since March 18th and have not walked on land for 40+ days and that can certainly do something to your mental health. We all want to go home so badly to be with our loved ones. Our families have reached out to US embassies who I know are trying to deal with this as best they can. And while we understand there are a lot of things going on we still more than anything just want to move forward and finally come home.”

-  Abby Lindahl, Royal Caribbean Vocalist, U.S. Citizen

A few days passed, and on April 22nd, we arrived in Manila, Philippines along with many other ships, waiting in the waters off of Manila Bay. It’s heartbreaking to be many other ships in the industry stuck in the same position filled with thousands of people, that also want nothing more than to go home. When I look out onto the horizon, the reality of this global standstill is right in front of my eyes. Voyager of the Seas is surrounded by ten other ships anchored off of Manila including Majesty Princess, Sun Princess, Pacific Explorer, May Lillies, Pacific Dawn, Queen Elizabeth, Carnival Spirit, St Augustine of Hippos, Sea Princess, St. Therese of Child Jesus; soon to be joined by Spectrum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas. Not to mention, the tons of cargo ships surrounding us as well. Think of all these crew members on board as if they were your own family members stuck out at sea. Keep in mind that these are only the ones in the Philippines, and that this is a reality for cruise ships remaining all around the world. Before I continue, I would like to quickly breakdown our quarantine for a bit of perspective. At this point:

  • We’ve been out at sea for 41 days
  • 36 of those days have been in “quarantine” without guests onboard.
  • 17 days in completely in cabin isolation without being allowed to leave our rooms.
  • An additional three-day isolation extension with “walks” was added.
  • Another six days out of isolation but with strict quarantine protocols: social distancing, mask wearing outside of our cabins at all times, hand washing and sanitizing, and continued twice daily temperature checks.

After refusal from several different countries, the Manila government agreed to come onboard and assess our quarantine protocols and current situation to decide how and whether we would be allowed to proceed with efforts to use Manila as a gateway for all international and Filipino members to return home. At 9am, all non-working crew members were instructed to proceed to their cabins and remain there until further announcements. Deck by deck, we were called down to the conference rooms, where the Manila authorities watched (dressed in full hazmat suits with face shields) as all crew members walked through a temperature check scan and proceeded back to our cabins. My nerves were through the roof, and I just hoped my temperature would remain as it has been, a healthy 36.6 degrees Celsius. I had no reason to be worried, but the thought of getting pulled out of line from the government with an unacceptable temperature terrified me. We remained in our rooms until the analysis was complete and the authorities had come to a decision. In the evening, we were informed of the following conclusion.

Authorities announced that Filipino crew members would be starting at day zero of 14 in cabin isolation ending on May 6, 2020. At that point, they will be allowed to walk off the ship and return home. For international crew, we would be starting on day zero of 14 more days of phase two, social distancing, ending May 6, 2020. The intention is to begin crew repatriation after the additional two weeks of quarantine are completed.

April 22nd, 2020:

I am extremely excited to have avoided cabin isolation at this time after the Filipino government’s assessment this morning – I will take that win! I honestly don’t know how I would’ve handled another cabin confinement. I had uncontrollable tears of joy and relief that I would not have to spend another 14 days in these four walls. However, I am not excited about more “I don’t knows” and another 15 days of social distancing after we’ve already been isolated, confined, and at sea for 40+ days. I called my poor mom crying and couldn’t get out any words. I was so relieved and so let down all at once. We wouldn’t need to be isolated again, but we also have been extended yet again, and hopefully this time it is the last step. It is also important to note, that after all this quarantine, I will still be required a mandatory 14 days in isolation followed by the restrictions and normalcy of my home country.

(Quarantine log excerpt)

If you are able to be hugged by a loved one, can binge watch those shows that everyone talks about, take a zoom dance class, run outside, drink a smoothie, cuddle your puppy, cook healthy meals, enjoy a delicious coffee, spend time in the stillness with your family, please do.

Everyone in the world is experiencing this global pandemic in different ways. I read something quite enlightening a while ago, that said, we are not all in the same boat, but we are all in the same storm; I wish I knew who wrote it to give credit. The truth of it all is that we are learning to process and cope with our situations uniquely. For some, this quarantine is a time to reconnect with their families, play some board games, and sip beers on their patio; a staycation. For others, it is a nightmare unable to escape from abuse or violence in a home that is supposed to be “safe”. Some don’t even have a home to stay in; their beds are the sidewalks. For many, this is an economic crisis wondering how they are going to afford to pay their rent and get another meal on the table. These people are desperate to run to their work and make money for the next day, while others advocate staying home and want to take out their anger on these very people who break the quarantine. Some are sacrificing their lives on the frontline to save others and keep the basic economy running, and others just want to escape this time all together. Some hide from the information, turning a blind eye, and others are the first to know the next governmental update. Some have faith in God for the next miracle, and others watch scientific trends saying the worst is yet to come.

With all that said, it is true, we are all on different ships trying to hang on for better days. I am where I am and you are where you are. Every one of us will come out of this situation in his or her own way. Try to see beyond the political, religious, and geographic separations, and replace judgement with kindness to empathize for those in desperate need.

For now, my ship remains in Manila, Philippines, for roughly another 14 days, hoping only that this nightmare is almost coming to an end so I can go find a way home to my family. My greatest thank you to Royal Caribbean for working nonstop through these uncharted waters to get us back safely during trying times. To everyone at home, hug your loved ones, stay home, stay healthy, forget the judgement and remember the humanity of every person, no matter what their situation may be. Here’s to another few weeks on Voyager of the Seas, in my “home away from home”.

Share:

19 Comments

  1. Fiona Kuiper
    May 6, 2020 / 2:31 PM

    Thank you for sharing your story – hubby and I were on Voyager that last sailing and disembarked in Sydney in 18 March to a distinct lack of health checks and direction from NSW authorities. We were off the ship at 7am and at the Sydney airport by 7:40am checking in for the first flight to get us home to Western Australia. I am appalled at the way the media had demonised all cruise ships and to read what is happening to staff on board.
    I am very grateful we were able to disembark. We had a wonderful cruise. The staff were all amazing and we felt safer on the ship than we did going through the cruise terminal and airports to get home. It has been hard coming home to such rapidly changing conditions but at least we are home. It has been hard watching our town and tourism industry shut down but at least we are home.
    I hope you are with loved ones soon. We are planning our next cruise with RCI – bringing our adult children this time.
    Fiona
    Kununurra
    Western Australia

  2. Lenore
    April 27, 2020 / 2:44 PM

    Hi Samantha,

    I just read your story to my husband with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes. We were on Voyager with you when it docked in Sydney on 18th March so we have an idea of what you must be going through. I am so sorry you got caught up in the confusion that followed.

    During the final week of our cruise things changed on a daily basis and the only thing we passengers wanted was to go home, so it’s no surprise that you feel the same way. It’s a shame you have been in limbo for all this time with still no definite resolution.

    When we disembarked we were told to self-isolate for 14 days once we returned home. Three days later we were advised that a passenger had tested positive to COVID-19 so we were required to watch for symptoms and get tested if necessary. Before the isolation period ended our state was put into ‘lock down’ so we couldn’t leave our home. It was difficult because we couldn’t see our family, who we hadn’t seen since 21st February. The hardest thing about this is not being able to hug my grandchildren.

    In saying that, I would not swap our situation for the one you are in at the moment. At least we are at home, we are safe and we are surrounded by space, fresh air and the comforts we love.

    Please know that the Voyager passengers
    have been watching the turmoil of the past few weeks and sympathise with all onboard. We are all ‘Loyal to Royal’ and keen to cruise again once things change.

    I hope you get to disembark on 6th May and return home. I know there will be huge hugs waiting for you. Perhaps we will see you on the Voyager stage again in the not too distant future. Stay strong, stay safe!

    Cheers,
    Lenore
    Melbourne, Australia

    • Betty
      April 30, 2020 / 3:51 AM

      Well said Lenore, we too were on the cruise that docked on the 18th March. The crew did an amazing job under such challenging and ever changing circumstances.

      My heart hurts for all the crew that remain onboard so far away from loved ones. They have my respect and greatest gratitude for all they do for the passengers.

      Samantha, Thank you for sharing your experiences and for giving us all a glimpse of what life must be like for you all onboard at this very difficult time.

      I hope you and all the other crew that remain onboard make it home to your families very soon. Remain strong and know that you are in the thoughts of so many past passengers and that we wish you all the best.

      Betty

      Sydney Australia

  3. Louise Moylan
    April 27, 2020 / 1:57 AM

    Great reading,very well written certainly gives us an inside view on what you are all going through. Thank you for making us aware of how it really is. Hope you get home soon.
    Kindest regards
    Louise Moylan
    Cairns North Queensland
    Australia

  4. ML Robson
    April 26, 2020 / 7:23 PM

    Samatha, Many thanks for sharing your experience on VOS… we were on the last cruise with you debarking in Sydney on March 18th and worried about how the crew was faring … we made it back to Canada after 36 hours in transit on March 19th and went into quarantine once home. Stay safe and healthy and hopefully you will get home soon. Mary MR

  5. Joy
    April 26, 2020 / 7:19 PM

    Many prayers are being said for all of you. We are also sharing your situation with others. In a way , we are there with you , waiting it out. We are aware, staying informed, and Praying. We will stay aware, informed, and Pray. And we will celebrate with you when we read posts of happy family reunions. Typed with LOVE 💕

  6. Rafael Pineiro
    April 26, 2020 / 5:24 PM

    Thanks again. Appreciate you sharing your experience. Like you I think the “we are all in same storm but different boats” is a brilliant way to describe what is going on, and than whoever came up with it.

  7. Marek
    April 26, 2020 / 2:39 PM

    I read both parts and they really touched my heart. It is such a wonderful feeling to know we’ve got people like you working along for Royal. Despite your sadness, anxiety, disappointment, you still show a beautiful soul of yours and you’ve never turned against company, understanding how hard they try to make it right. Not all see that and I praize you for telling the world how you feel. This is so brave, so mature and so….. heartbreaking at the same time.
    I pray for you and my crew on Radiance (day 42 today) to be home with your loved ones within next few days 🙏
    Thank you for sharing your feelings ❤️

  8. Margaret
    April 26, 2020 / 9:15 AM

    I have been reading your diary and I really didn’t think about what you all must be going through. Yes life is different here in Australia, not being able to see our extended families and giving them a hug. At least I have my husband with me and family members keeping in touch. My thoughts go out to you often and my prayers at night will now include all of the wonderful crew members of the many ships waiting out this pandemic at sea. I hope it won’t be too long before you make it home. 🥰😘

  9. April 26, 2020 / 9:03 AM

    My heart reaches out to you. Will be keeping you in our prayers that you will eventually get home safely. God bless…

  10. Ann Diaz
    April 26, 2020 / 7:48 AM

    I watched Voyager of the Seas as it was anchored off port Kembla. Thought of all the crew members on board, as I have sailed on cruises with Royal Caribbean and enjoyed the performances, and been looked after so wonderfully, I felt so sad for all the crew now. Hopefully you will soon be back home with your family. Stay safe with your family ❤️

  11. Beverley Metcalf
    April 26, 2020 / 7:42 AM

    Dear Samantha, I have just read your notes of your experience on the Voyager.
    My heart goes out to you. We are all in shock over this situation. We where on Yoyager to Hobart and had a wonderful time. There were 8 of us including my 94 year old Aunty having her 1st cruise.
    We have had 8 cruises and 3 of them on Voyager, and all RCL.
    I’m glad you’re home now, feet on the ground.
    I think it will be a long time before we will be on the seas again. We where booked on Voyager for the 19th April to Singapore then on to Bali, so hopefully next year.
    Well , eating all that 🍞 and rice you didn’t have to watch your weight as we have to here. Luckily we have an acre of land so been doing a lot of Gardening. We live in between Sydney and Brisbane on the coast.
    Do you think you will ever work on ships again?
    If so would like to meet up with you 💁‍♀️.
    Hope you are enjoying being back home with your family and recovering. Good luck to you.
    Regards
    Bev and Lance

  12. Amanda
    April 26, 2020 / 5:14 AM

    Today it is April 26th. Thinking of you and hoping you keep your spirits up. May 6th seems a long way off but it will arrive quickly and one day very soon you will on home soil. In a few months time this will all be like a dream, maybe not a pleasant one but it will be in the past. Stay safe and thank you for sharing your thoughts. Please keep writing it is an awesome read.

  13. Nancy
    April 26, 2020 / 5:13 AM

    Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you are home with your family in America soon. Stay safe. 💚

  14. Belinda Skillcorn
    April 26, 2020 / 3:03 AM

    Samantha Thank you for your insight – Sending my thoughts and Cyber Hugs your way. I hope you are reunited with your family soon and they are all well. xx

  15. June
    April 25, 2020 / 11:46 PM

    Wow as a Royal Caribbean frequent cruise passenger I read your post with interest. Hope things work out in your favour and you can finally return home!

  16. Lisa June Kayser
    April 25, 2020 / 6:34 PM

    Just an amazing article you wrote! Love you!

  17. Lori G Binkly
    April 25, 2020 / 4:51 PM

    Such an ordeal to live through – wow, mind boggling. Our very best wishes go out to you and your fellow artists and crew for your safe travel home. The one amazing thing is that none of you are sick!

  18. Sue Moodie
    April 25, 2020 / 3:37 PM

    Good luck. My grandson is one of 6 british production crew on Sea Princess
    Much love and hugs
    Nannie Sue

Leave a comment & let me know your thoughts!