HBO makes documentary on Covid cruise from hell

Image: HBO.

“The Last Cruise” relives the early-pandemic horror experienced by passengers and crew of the Diamond Princess cruise disaster.

US film company, HBO, has made a documentary about the experiences of the passengers and crew of the Diamond Princess in the early days of the pandemic in 2020.

Before the pandemic made the headlines of every news bulletin and became the topic on everyone’s lips, the passengers of the Diamond Princess lived through their own, very personal nightmare on the high seas.

The cruise liner left Yokohama, Japan on 20th January 2020 on a roundtrip of southeast Asia. Little did anyone one know that a deadly stowaway was about to turn what should have been the trip of a lifetime into a gruelling ordeal, as full of the menace of death and bowel-twisting uncertainty as a game of Russian roulette.

Aboard the vessel was an 80-year-old passenger from Hong Kong who had recently been in Shenzen, China. He was the carrier.

The day the ship slipped her lines, there were only four confirmed cases of the Coronavirus outside of China, but within a fortnight the Diamond Princess had become the single biggest outbreak of the virus outside of China, claiming the lives of 14 of the 712 people infected and traumatising the survivors forever.

Paradoxically, the tale of the Diamond Princess gave virologists the perfect example of a Coronavirus case study, but the 3,711 people aboard must have felt like they were living through a Hollywood disaster movie, in all its dread and suspense.

As soon as it became evident that a major outbreak had occurred the vessel was ordered back to Yokohama and into strict quarantine, and for the next two weeks, everyone aboard ran the gauntlet of possible infection. Those that fell ill were cared for as well as possible, those that succumbed were mourned, but always tempered by the knowledge that the mourners might be next.

“The Last Cruise” documents, in 40 harrowing minutes, just what those unfortunate souls experienced and is now available on HBO and HBO Max, with a UK release to be announced.

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