An Adelaide woman was stranded on a cruise ship in northeastern Brazil for nearly a week after a passenger on board tested positive for coronavirus.
- Bobbie Roberts said the ship is not testing any passengers despite the positive test
- All passengers have been isolated since Thursday
- Roberts says that the passengers have been disappointed by the management
Bobbie Roberts said he feared that the virus may have spread across the ship, but there is no way to say it because the tests were “almost nonexistent”.
“We should have been temperature tested three times a day … but the first temperature check we had was yesterday,” said Roberts.
Ms. Robert’s Silver Shadow cruise ship left Rio de Janeiro on March 7, stopped in Salvador de Bahia before heading to Recife, where she is now docked.
The ship has 609 people on board, including the crew, and passengers have been held in isolation since last Thursday, when a passenger showed coronavirus symptoms.
“I was just sitting looking out the dining room window and looking at all these people in dresses outside,” he said.
“The waiter arrives and I said,” What’s going on out there? “And he said,” Oh, well, someone was taken off the ship, sick. ”
The cabin crew later confirmed that the passenger, a 78-year-old man from Canada, had tested positive for COVID-19.
Roberts said the passengers were left in the dark by the ship’s direction.
A spokesman for the parent company of the cruise ship Silversea confirmed to ABC that two passengers were taken away from the ship in Brazil.
“We can confirm that two guests aboard the Silver Shadow have been medically disembarked in Recife, Brazil, and one has tested positive for COVID-19, while the second has tested negative,” said the spokesman.
“On behalf of our guests, we are in close coordination with local governments and health authorities to determine the next best steps.
“We asked ship guests to stay temporarily in their cabins in accordance with our medical isolation protocols.
“Our top priority is to ensure the health and comfort of our guests and crew, and we thank our guests for their patience and understanding since this problem affects them and so many around the world.”
Take a cruise with a “journey of life” birthday present
Roberts said she was locked up in her room for days, with severe quarantine measures put in place on board.
It was a heartbreaking blow for Ms Roberts, who purchased “the trip of a lifetime” more than 12 months ago as a gift for her 71st birthday.
“I was hoping we would be tested properly, all of us [passengers]so we would be able to get on with the cruise without the virus, “he said.
A beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which Ms. Roberts previously visited on the cruise. (Provided: Bobbie Roberts)
Mrs Roberts travels alone and claims to feel “really down” and alone in isolation.
“We can’t see anyone, [the staff] they are decked out in fire retardant clothing and leave your meal at the door, it’s just awful. ”
The only contact Ms. Roberts has on the ship is a Sydney lady with whom she made friends on the first day of the cruise.
“She calls me every day to make sure she is okay, I don’t know what I would have done without her,” she said.
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It was a little comfort to the future grandmother of Port Noarlunga, who is now desperate to go home.
She has a nephew who will arrive in a couple of weeks and is also worried about her 92-year-old mother, who suffers from heart problems and relies on Roberts for treatment.
The company “hasn’t clarified the refund policy,” says Roberts
Roberts said he had regular contact with the Australian agent from Silversea until the day he left Australia for Rio and was assured that the cruise would be safe during the coronavirus crisis.
He says he is aware of the problems on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, but thought his cruise would have a plan to prevent the same thing from happening.
“I thought Silversea would weigh the risks and tell us not to go if it was too dangerous,” said Roberts.
“I thought they would have had better management of it.”
She said that although she insisted with the airline’s Australian agent on options for refunds or credits during the trip, no one was disclosed to her.
“I was told that refunds were not part of the ship’s policy,” said Roberts.
“I sent an email the day before I left saying” I am very worried, I am very afraid and I don’t know what to do, because if I cancel, I will lose all this money. ”
“And nothing was offered to me at that stage … I have since discovered that the company issued a decree that people could cancel within 48 hours.”
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In a statement on the Silversea website of March 6, the company stated that cancellations could be made up to two days before departure for all trips departing before July 31.
“The new” Cruise with confidence “policy will allow travelers to cancel their navigation two days before departure, providing guests with a future cruise credit,” read the note.
A few days later, Silversea released another statement stating that it would protect the travel agents commission “on all bookings canceled under the Cruise with Confidence program which will start between March 9 and July 31, 2020”.
Stuck in limbo while the authorities interact with the government
Roberts contacted the Australian emergency consular assistance line and the Australian embassy in Brazil for help.
He claimed that he had received an e-mail replying that the Australian embassy and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) were collaborating with the state and federal authorities of the Brazilian government and Silversea.
“While the company and government authorities are actively evaluating the options, we understand that no decision has been made at this point on possible next steps,” read the DFAT email.
“In the meantime, we encourage you to continue talking to the cruise ship authorities and, if applicable, to the travel insurer, to see what might be possible.”
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