When nearly 2,000 passengers set sail on a 104-day cruise aboard the Sea Princess, they had no idea they were signing up for “Captain Phillips”-esque experience. Instead of “deck parties, movies under the stars, late-night outdoor bar hopping, and pool dipping,” the guests onboard were met with an unexpected worry: pirates.
The ship, which was headed toward Dubai from Sydney, underwent a 10-day nightly blackout as it meandered its way through the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Suez Canal. Carolyne Jasinski, a passenger aboard the ship, described the whole ordeal on news.com.au. “No lights, no party atmosphere, no lapping up tropical breezes on their balconies,” she wrote. “She was a ghost ship.”
Passengers were told to turn off their lights, draw all curtains, and close the shutters as the sun began to set. Captain Gennaro Arma reminded passengers, who initially joked about the situation, that they faced a real threat and that “the ship must be prepared for a pirate attack.”
Things took an even more serious turn when passengers were asked to participate in compulsory drills to prepare for a potential attack. During this time, they were told “to sit on the floor and to hang on to hand rails in case the ship had to maneuver away from pirate ships,” Jasinski wrote. “In the case of a real threat, those passengers in outside cabins were told to close and lock their balcony doors, then lock their entrance door to their cabin and take shelter in the corridors.”
After all of this hullabaloo, the cruise line assured folks that the protocol was merely precautionary. “Any measures aboard Sea Princess were simply taken out of an abundance caution and not in response to any specific threat,” the cruise operator said, according to the New York Daily News.
Needless to say, the rest of the trip was smooth sailing.
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