It’s one of the biggest maritime operations in history – repatriating thousands of crew members from cruise ships, back to home.
And it has turned Manilla Bay in the Philippines into a giant Ocean ship park. Riding at anchor are the Sun Princess, Carnival Spirit, Queen Elizabeth, Sea Princess, Spectrum of the Seas, Voyagers of the Seas, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Explorer.
There are 14 ships in the bay, while another three floating outside the harbour.
The ships are manned by skeleton crews who are keeping themselves occupied in a variety of ways. YouTube sensation Celebrity Edge’s Captain Kate is delivering coffee to her staff, and Ruby Princess’s harpist and violinist, Kate is recording her performances especially for us.
The lines have already transferred thousands of crew members. In videos posted on the Seaman’s Adventure Facebook group, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, for instance, transferred over 1,000 Indonesian crew from their ships to land earlier this week.
And in a post in the group, it is believed the line will start its repatriation of Caribbean, South American and Central American crew from next week.
The statement said: “Crew from the Caribbean, Central and South American crew will be transferred to Vision, Rhapsody and Adventure of the Seas. All three ships will then sail to various ports.
“The Vision will depart from Miami on May 15, and sail to St. Kitts, Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad and St. Vincent; the Rhapsody will depart from Miami on May 13, and sail to Cartagena, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize; the Adventure will depart from the Bahamas on May 9 and set course for Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
“The Harmony is heading to Barbados with Filipino crew from various company ships, where the company will have charter flights heading to Manila. There will also be charter flights to Manila from Miami, with the Liberty of the Seas heading to Miami.
“The Anthem of the Seas will have a long trek, sailing to India for a port call on June 3.”
The statement also said Indonesian crew will be transferred to Explorer and Enchantment. And charter flights will take off from Bridgetown for crew aboard the Explorer, and from Miami for crew aboard the Enchantment.
The Ukraine and Romanian crew aboard the company’s fleet will be transferred to the Navigator of the Seas, which will then dock in Miami and crew will get charter flights home.
European, Canadian and all other crew will be transferred to Freedom, Empress and Majesty. All three ships will sail to the UK where charter flights will be arranged.
U.S. crew will also be disembarked with charter flights home.
Carnival has also started repatriating its crew. Around 258 crew from the Freedom and Valor have returned to their home countries, while the crew on the Spirit are starting their 14-day quarantine.
Here is what the crew are up to:
Captain Kate delivers coffee to her staff
While most of her staff are self-isolating in their cabins, Captain Kate from the Celebrity Edge decided to pay them a visit. The video shows her delivering coffee and soft drink orders to cheer them up.
The Captain even gets lost on her own massive ship.
Ruby Princess‘ Kate Heneghan stateroom performance
The talented Kate Heneghan who is a guest entertainer on the Ruby Princess has kept herself entertained by practicing the violin and harp. And she’s shared with us, her beautiful performance.
The ship, which arrived in Manila Bay last night, will start repatriating its crew after they complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine period. But here is Kate’s stunning performance.
Celebrity Edge‘s boat building competition
Celebrity Edge‘s Captain Kate McCue is well known for adorable hairless cat and her heartwarming Instagram videos. As her ship floats off the US coast, she held a boat making competition among her crew to see who could make the most seaworthy vessels. The two teams utilised anything they could find – pool noodles, styrofoam boxes and papermache balls.
View this post on Instagram
Whatever floats your boat… or in this case, doesn't sink it! . We're thinking outside the box for activities that encourage creativity while maintaining a social distance. So we proudly bring you the " #HopeFloats Your Boat Building Competition" . Today's pitted the Guest Relations Team up against the Bridge Team. Guess who took the glory (& prizes)? . #whatfloatsyourboat #celebrityfamily #justcrewit #HopeFloats #wewillbeback #livingontheedge #lifeintheSeaSuite #seastheday #celebrityedge @celebritycruises #celebritycruises #caribbean @celebrityedge #iamcelebrity
Vote in this year’s special Readers’ Choice Awards
No doubt 2020 will go down in cruise history as the year of the pandemic – a once in a generation event. And this year’s Cruise Passenger Readers’ Choice Awards will reflect it.