Just this week, there have been outbreaks of the coronavirus on three different cruise ships: Coral Princess and two Holland America ships, Zaandam and Rotterdam. The three vessels quickly got to Florida to evacuate their passengers and get those who were sick to the hospital. Still, there were bumps along the way, particularly for the Zaandam and Rotterdam. No one wanted to take them. Whether it was Florida or Chile, they struggled to find a government that was excited at the prospect of a ship filled with potentially sick individuals docking in their state or country. While we don’t blame them, it ultimately led to the ships having to think quickly and spend more time on water when they could have been disembarking those who were sick.
So, who is to blame here? Is it the cruise lines? Well, not really. Holland America had actually suspended operations far before anyone got sick on their two ships, but they were unable to find a place to dock their ships that were asea once this decision was made. So, they tried to do right, it was just made difficult. So, was it the governments, then? Again, not really. There’s not much reason in pointing fingers, as they were essentially following the ideal set forth that they should try to prevent the spread of the disease as much as possible. It’s also definitely not the fault of anyone on the ship. How could anyone who was sick realistically prevent spreading it while stuck in the confines of a cruise ship? Close quarters and non-hospital grade ventilation makes it difficult to not infect anyone else if you are already sick.
Still, something clearly went wrong here. As we struggle with the question of how these outbreaks were able to happen, we must remember the golden rule of our new, modern era: stay away from other people. Being on a cruise ship does not constitute staying away from other people. While we can’t blame cruise lines, governments or travelers, we can pinpoint what went wrong here: people did not stay far away from one another, for a variety of reasons.
These outbreaks have taught us an important lesson. The pandemic has reached the point where we need to take social distancing guidelines very seriously. Coronavirus spreads quickly and easily enough to where we all now have responsibility as individuals to mitigate the damage the disease can do as much as possible. Cruise lines should take these recent events as wake-up calls to suspend any itineraries that they may have planned for the future; travelers should now realize that their vacations need to wait for a bit until the pandemic eases up.
These outbreaks have been awful, but we need to learn from them. Readers should keep in mind that we aren’t medical professionals, but rather concerned onlookers. Our advice is that, for now, we all need to stay at home. It doesn’t matter if places are still open, or events are still happening; do not take this as reason to still go out. Be as safe as you can be, and it will keep others safe as well.