From time to time, I receive letters and emails from crew members on cruise ships around the world. I typically don’t publish them. But after communicating back and forth with this ship employee, I promised to bring awareness to her situation and that of other employees on the ship. The crew member sent me photos of typical plates of food served to crew members in quarantine. But she was afraid to take a photo of her interior cabin out of concern that it may lead to NCL learning of her identity and terminating her employment. Here is her letter:
“Here’s what’s happening to me and fellow crew members on the Norwegian Sky:
Currently the ship is going through dry dock in Brest, France. When the ship arrived in Brest in late December 2021, it was Covid-Free. With the arrival of contractors onboard the ship, we started to see the first covid cases. First the contractors and then the crew.
As per our company’s policies, crew joining have to test negative to board the vessel and then quarantine for 7-10 days. Most are assigned to crew cabins, many in interior cabins with no windows. If lucky enough to land in a guest cabin with a balcony, we receive food which is delivered to our cabins cold, bland and tasteless. Few or many times no vegetables. Prison food must be better then this.
The crew channels on TV play the same films over and over again. Internet is slow and the cabins very small. This is no place to stay in quarantine 24 hours a day for 7 to 10 days.
By mid January, there was over 150 crew cases of covid. There are now over 300.
Many of us in internal cabins have no access to fresh air or daylight. Stale air, darkness, poor food and covid are a perfect mix to erode our emotions and compromise our mental state of mind.
Prisoners get better conditions than this in some European nations.
Life on the outside of the cabins isn’t much better. Crew who are not in quarantine can eat & go to work. That’s it. Social distancing is taking place onboard, crew must sit no more than two to a table. We cannot socialize outside of work hours and must return to our cabins after we finish our work.
We have no access to gyms. There is no way to exercise. It has become accepted that we should be able to live like this and never complain.
This attempt at living is not normal nor acceptable. There is always going to be people around the world who would say that they would love to be on a cruise like this or say that “we put ourselves in this situation.” But no person should be treated like this. These prison-like conditions are not good for anyone.
The ship is not currently in operation but, soon, in one month’s time, it will be back at sea. It’s widely spoken that there will still be no shore leave for the crew.
Stripping away our little freedoms like this is harmful to out minds and souls. Those in quarantine in interior spaces on a ship filled with people who are covid-positive or ill and stuck in small cabins without windows places too much misery on all of us.”
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January 31, 2022 Update:
If you are a crew member and have information which you wish to share, please contact us via the report a tip link. We promise to keep your identity completely anonymous and strictly confidential.
Photo credit: Norwegian Sky – One Cyclone Source CC BY-SA 3.0,