I imagine that for many cruisers, the notion of “living the life” on the ocean--being personally served virtually around the clock filet mignon, lobster, and chocolate covered strawberries, drinking martinis, fine wine, and champagne, relaxing and luxuriating in suite accommodations with an unparalleled view of the ocean from your veranda on a six-star cruise line—is an occasional fantasy. A relatively small percentage of cruisers get to experience some aspects of this on their luxury cruises. That was Doris Vasconcellos-Bernstein and Doug Bernstein’s experience around the clock for 12 straight days. Sounds glorious, except Doris and Doug had no input to this real life fantasy except whether to order Lemongrass Beef Nam Tok Nua, or Lobster Thermidor, or Milk Fed Veal Escalope. And, it took place at a time that outside of Doris and Doug’s suite on Silversea Cruises Silver Shadow—from which they could not leave—the world was grappling with a raging pandemic.
.......We came back to the ship to have lunch. Before we left the cabin to go to a restaurant, the Captain made an announcement over the PA system: someone had been taken off the ship sick and they had to follow some international protocols and asked us to stay for the moment in our cabins.”
That “for the moment” became 12 days. It became obvious that the “moment” was going to turn into something longer when shortly thereafter Silver Shadow Captain Gennaro Arma directed all guests to immediately return to their room and not leave. Doris and Doug never again saw any part of the Silver Shadow beyond their cabin until they were led off to be flown home. At that point, little did the guests
realize that not only were they confined to their cabins, but that the Silver Shadow would not be departing Recife that night en route to their next destination of Fortaleza, Brazil. Pending test results for the passenger who was taken off the ship with a cough, fever, and respiratory symptoms, Silver Shadow was held at Recife
Port. Port management even prohibited discharge of Silver Shadow’s garbage. Furthermore, the pier that the ship was docked on was ordered isolated.
Two days later, Royal Caribbean, Silversea Cruises parent company, released a statement to the media: "Two guests aboard the Silver Shadow have been medically disembarked in Recife, Brazil, and one has tested positive for COVID-19." The 79-year-old man who tested positive died a couple of weeks later in a
Brazil hospital. The second person removed tested negative.
It was not clear to the Silver Shadow guests when Captain Arma made his directive, of the extent to which the Brazilian authorities had exerted control over the situation. At the time, Brazil had reported 37 cases of COVID-19 and zero deaths since the outbreak began. It would become a lot clearer in the ensuing
couple of days.....
Read the full story of Trapped In Paradise in Cruising Interrupted, Christmas 2020!