Crewmembers on board the Norwegian Escape cruise ship have claimed they are being forced to share rooms amid the coronavirus pandemic despite the availability of single-crew cabins.
Workers on the ship are in quarantine with people who have come from other vessels in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet and images appear to show hundreds of people crowded together on the upper deck.
Workers have also shared images of the lodgings which put at least two people to a small room on the ship of 3,800 people waiting until they can fly home, and complained: ‘We are fearful for our safety’.
They said that despite a ship doctor dying on board the Norwegian Gem, the company has not stepped up measures to ensure those on board are safe.
Images show a packed out deck and the small cabins workers are reportedly sharing on the Norwegian Escape
Whistleblowers said at least 90 percent of crew are sharing cabins with another person but up to four people are sleeping in one room on Norwegian Escape (pictured)
Crew said they feared for their safety and claimed the company doesn’t care about them
This week European workers were consolidated onto the Norwegian Breakaway and non-Europeans were placed on the Norwegian Escape before they left Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas and headed for Miami, Florida.
It was as the company – which has nine ships in the fleet – tried to reduce costs of the repatriation process.
But some crewmembers have complained it’s ‘ridiculously crowded’.
‘We were not assigned separate living quarters as expected. two individuals assigned to small cramped guest staterooms. No privacy, no social distancing. In an environment with 3800 crew members, we are fearful for our safety,’ an anonymous worker wrote to Cruise Law News.
‘We were not assigned separate living quarters as expected … two passengers assigned to small cramped guest staterooms. No privacy, no social distancing. In an environment with 3800 crew members, we are fearful for our safety.
On the Norwegian Gem, senior Dr. Alex Guevara passed away on the ship where others had tested positive for coronavirus, lawyer Jim Walker reported on his blog
‘We believe that the Company doesn’t care about us anymore and they are more focused on cutting cost as opposed to protecting our health and safety. When asked about our living arrangements, the answer is that “This is directives from Miami”.’
The blog by Miami Lawyer Jim Walker claims to have ‘everything cruise lines don’t want you to know’ and a crewmember transferred from the Norwegian Gem told the blog: ‘We are hoping that we are sent home immediately as we all fear for our health and safety here onboard. We are due to arrive in Miami this morning. It feels like a disaster waiting to happen.’
On the Norwegian Gem, senior Dr. Alex Guevara passed away from coronavirus, Walker reported on his blog. A nurse fell seriously ill and other people have contracted the virus. However the 59-year-old doctor wasn’t tested.
‘Despite the obvious health risks, and with crew members from the NCL Gem which a) had confirmed cases of Covid-19 and b) suffered a fatality two days ago; the Escape has refused to put people in single cabins,’ the whistleblower continued. ‘There are more than enough cabins available owing to the refusal of the NCL Getaway crew to stay on the Escape.’
Another crew member claimed that they ‘have been queuing in our HR lines every day to try to get single living arrangements’.
‘Some have reported their roommates feeling ill but not wanting to go to the on board medical, and the HR and guest service representatives have only advised that because of our positions, ie housekeeping, cruise staff, art gallery, photographers, or even youth counselors, we are ‘not entitled’ to single cabins – because ‘they’ve already cleaned the crew cabins’ and we cannot ‘just request it’,’ the person claimed to the lawyer.
A nurse fell seriously ill and other people have contracted the virus on the Norwegian Gem (pictured)
‘When bringing up our fear for health and safety, they relay the same message ‘because of your position on board, you are not entitled to a single cabin.’
A third person said that after images were leaked, the crewmembers had more privileges taken away from them.
‘Due to a lovely crew member onboard that sent pictures to the media, this has now resulted in the flexibility we had to keep crew happy to now stop,’ the anonymous person shared from meeting notes.
They claimed bosses took a water and soda bar out of service and removed tables and chairs so that people counter linger in areas. They stated that media attention had resulted in an investigation but the CDC.
‘In the eating places there will now be an empty table in between each one so going for food you will have to wait till people leave before you can enter so will take longer to eat.,’ the person said of the meeting notes.
‘They were expected to have flights in a couple of days for some countries but now they have been postponed due to the actions of this crew member. The CDC is now evaluating the issue.
‘Security will now be increased around the ship to make sure crew members abide by these rules. If the rules are not being adhered to then the next step will be crew are to remain in their rooms and eat only at the allotted time only. Please don’t let it come to this Thank you.’
An investigation has been launched into Norwegian Cruise Line after leaked emails revealed how staff were ordered to downplay the risks of coronavirus to customers.
The Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office announced at the end of March that it was launching a probe over allegations the cruise line gave ‘misleading and potentially dangerous sales pitches’ to customers amid the pandemic.
Leaked internal emails emerged in early March showing that managers were giving sales staff phrases to tell customers dismissing the risk of contracting coronavirus on board ships to try to flog more holidays.
The emails, leaked to Miami New Times by a whistleblower, showed that a senior sales manager in the company’s Miami headquarters had created scripts with the misleading talking points so staff could persuade worried customers not to cancel their trips.
Staff were told to say lines such as ‘the only thing you need to worry about for your cruise is do you have enough sunscreen,’ and ‘the coronavirus can only survive in cold temperatures, so the Caribbean is a fantastic choice for your next cruise,’ the emails revealed.
The General Attorney’s office said Norwegian is cooperating with the investigation.