OT: An email from a cruise ship

I just received an email from someone who is spending a couple of weeks on a cruise ship (it happens to be an Oceania Line ship, but I figure it is representative).

The first item covered was about how the line addresses an ADA challenge regarding a couple who is blind/deaf. The second (long a favorite of mine) is how COVID is currently being addressed. I’ve slightly edited it for brevity, privacy etc., but have left some of the descriptive warts in place.


Good news: I finally have this story correct because I had a longer conversation with Cxxx tonight. Cxxx is one of four sign language interpreters assigned by the ADA law to accompany a couple from the US. I’ve seen this couple playing indoor golf, did not realize she was blind and mute (doubt that is the PC description any more) and he is mute. I see them occasionally around the ship arm-in-arm, so assumed both were mute. This assumption stems from my first awareness of them. I was seated in the main dining room at lunch at a table for two while next to me was a table of six people. All was silence and that’s when I became aware. I noticed all were signing.

Talking to Cxxx tonight at a Solo Get-Together taught me so much. There are four interpreters and one couple who they accompany. It is an ADA requirement that if a person/couple wish to leave a US port, the cruise line must hire certified interpreters. Cxxx also said to another person’s inquiry, “We’re there when they need us out of their faces when they don’t”.

Watching Cxxx and the male interpreter who takes over during a performance of, for example, a Broadway-style review, is truly mesmerizing to me. The two interpreters have very different styles: the male’s more contained; Cxxx’s animated by facial gestures, body language and signs. Just imagine signing “Just a Gigolo” or “I want to be Loved by You.”

Now the negative, and, boy am I gritting my teeth. Probably too much experience on my last long cruise when 288 where hit by Covid (out of 450 passengers).

First the General Manager disappears for ten days. Explanation “Upper Respiratory Infection.” Then I get call from another passenger with a procedural question because her husband was down with Covid.

Next I walk out of my room one evening to be shooed back by a three member crew in Haz-Mats suits, deep fogging the corridor. I unintentionally phrased the question I asked at Reception. I was told it was routine. Then, the Social Hostess and singer, disappears. “Oh, she under the weather.”. I could go on and on, but to shorten this narrative: today, the 14th, at 11:30 AM when most passengers are on tours, Corey, the Cruise Director, announces via the “non-intrusive” corridor PA system (I hurried to the door of my room because 11:30 AM are not usual) “Masks are highly recommended, as is social distancing,…and any passenger suffering from flu or cold type symptoms should contact Medical.” Most passengers I spoke to didn’t even hear the announcement - including the port lecturer and her husband who does extensive Excursions as a shepherd?

Tonight, at six, the cruise director repeated the message, “Masks are highly recommended…” but in the light-hearted delivery he has. I doubt there are many who believed him