Love boat: Passengers celebrate Valentine's Day on quarantined Diamond Princess cruise
Tokyo, Feb 14: 'Cupid's avocado' for dinner, heart-shaped messages for the crew, but also painful separation: for those trapped on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship, Friday is no ordinary Valentine's Day.
Wearing a red dress and a red hair tie, the ship's entertainment manager Natalie posted a Valentine's Day video on Twitter to try to keep spirits up.
"I just wanted to check in with everybody and say that we are all hanging in there, doing fine and keeping together as a big family," she said, admitting with a smile: "This hasn't been my regular attire for the last week or so."
American passenger Jackie joked that she had big plans for Valentine's Day on the cruise, which has proved far from the gala holiday everyone planned. "We're going to have a formal night on Valentine's Day in our cabin. Take some pics, have some laughs," she tweeted.
Another passenger cut out paper hearts and left them on her door for the crew to read, with messages including: "Thank you for all your hard work" and "Thank you for taking care of us."
More than 200 people on board the ship have been diagnosed with the newly named COVID-19 and taken to local hospitals.
Those remaining on board will be in quarantine until at least February 19. While passengers are battling isolation, fear and boredom, some members of the crew have voiced concerns about their conditions, including eating together and sleeping two to a cabin.
But the coronavirus has also ripped some couples apart for Valentine's Day, including at least one on their honeymoon. Kent Frasure was forced to say goodbye to his partner Rebecca, who has contracted the virus and is now in isolation in hospital. "We said 'goodbye, see each other later' and gave each other a hug. We didn't have a goodbye kiss because we didn't really know what was going on," Kent told CNBC. "Then I watched her walk down the hallway, turn the corner and then she was gone."