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“I am a cruise ship worker currently trapped at sea” Ask me anything

PortandTerminal.com, May 8, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA – The popular social news aggregation website Reddit has something they call AMA – “Ask Me Anything”. The idea is that someone doing of interest to the community of Reddit users offers to truthfully answer any questions that are asked of them.

Melinda Mann, a cruise ship worker stuck onboard Holland America’s Oosterdam waiting to come home, recently offered to do an AMA on Reddit. The answers to the questions she was asked give some good insight into the current situation being lived by thousands of cruise ship workers around the globe.

My short bio: I have worked at sea for a few years now, and was unlucky enough to be at sea when all of the ‘rona started. I have not set foot on land since March 14th.

I worked for the cruise company Holland America Line as part of the entertainment team. My ship has been fighting for weeks with the CDC and the US government to let me back into the country, even though I am a US citizen. I’m happy to answer any questions here about what it’s like to be at sea for extended periods of time, or what it’s like to work at sea in general.


  • Am I being paid? No.
  • Have you filed for unemployment? My internet is not strong enough yet. I’m going to try as soon as I get back on land.
  • Is anyone onboard sick? No. Or at least, they have not made any announcements about that. Everyone is getting fever tested twice a day.
  • How’s the food? A bit lower than guest quality, but generally good. Here’s a picture of dinner!
  • How do you get food? They deliver it to me three meals a day.
  • How’s the room? It is a 200sq ft cabin to myself. I spend around 20+ hours a day in here alone. I have a balcony and a double bed. 
Bedroom on a cruise ship

  • How much is the internet? it’s $10 per gigabyte, and the connection is extremely spotty. It drops out usually every 20 and 30 minutes for me, and takes a few minutes to pick back up again. Even phone calls over WhatsApp are hard to make.
  • Why don’t you jump? It is incredibly dangerous to jump overboard a moving ship. If you jump over the side, there is a good chance that the current drags you underneath the ship and into the propellers. If you jump over the back, the water is heavily aerated and you will get sucked under again. If you manage to swim to the top / hold your breath long enough, you will die of dehydration and exposure if you don’t make it to land.
  • What happened when you tried to leave the ship? longer comment click here

Edit: the current plan is for me to disembark tomorrow in Los Angeles. However, that was the plan more than a week ago too. I don’t have flight details or anything yet. We’ll see!

Edit2: I should theoretically be disembarking tomorrow! That being said, I have answered literally hundreds of questions. I am sorry if I missed yours, though I skipped some that were frequent repeats. I will continue answering tonight and tomorrow!

Edit 3: it is tomorrow and we are docked in Los Angeles! I still won’t believe I am on land until my feet hit the ground. Other crew got as far as getting to the airport, before they were forced to turn back to the ship. If that happens to me, I will riot justkiddingiftheshipisreading


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