This was an experience that will certainly make for great conversation at dinner parties. Something that happens to you only once (or probably never) in a lifetime.
For the last five years, we’ve cruised every 12 – 18 months so we like to think we’re veterans in that sense. Last year, my wife, Aun Na and I came across a last minute deal for a destination on our list of ‘to-cruise places’. We knew this would be the perfect holiday for us and two of our three kids, Xander (19) and Kaitlyn (16).
I had had a big year at work and Kaitlyn was turning 16 – a milestone birthday. We wanted to both recharge and celebrate.
We chose the Diamond Princess for a cruise through north Asia. The ship was sailing back to Yokohama in Japan on its final leg. We were thoroughly enjoying the last couple of days.
It was then we heard the captain’s announcement over the loud speaker: a former passenger who had recently disembarked in Hong Kong had tested positive for COVID-19.
It felt so far removed from where we were at that place and time; no-one was taking it too seriously.
It wasn’t until everyone on the ship was required to return to - and asked not to leave - their cabins we realised just how serious the situation was.
Adapt. Adapt fast
We were informed the mandate from the Japan Ministry of Health was for us to be quarantined on the ship for 14 days.
As a family we’re used to being in each other’s space but this meant the four of us were stuck in a windowless cabin with no balcony for the entire quarantine period of 14 days. Although it felt uncomfortable at the beginning … we adjusted.
Each of us somehow managed to find our own space in this tiny little cabin. The kids, being teenagers, are used to staying in their own rooms and doing their own thing but being confined to the cabin meant they couldn’t avoid us.
Surprisingly, they found ways! If they needed space they would just put their headphones on, go to their own corners and block us out.