Esther is stuck on a cruise ship due to fears of a cholera outbreak

Esther has been stuck for days on the ship on which she and her family took a beautiful cruise from Cape Town, South Africa, to the island of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean. Due to fears of a cholera outbreak on board, the ship Norwegian Dawn is now stationary off the coast of Mauritius, with three thousand people on board. “We know nothing and that is annoying,” says Esther from the cruise ship.

After a series of cases of gastrointestinal diseases on board, local authorities refused to allow the ship to dock in the port of the capital Port Louis on Sunday. Southern Africa is experiencing one of the worst cholera outbreaks in years.

“The trip started fantastically,” Esther says on Monday morning in the radio program ‘WAKKER!’ on Omroep Brabant. She is the owner of the Italian restaurant Al Dente in Breda and is on a cruise trip with her family. “We first went to South Africa, in Stellenbosch. That was beautiful, we spent a few days there. We made beautiful safaris. We went on board in Cape Town and then it started. On Réunion – an island to the east from Mauritius – we did not reach shore.”

“The shipping company only tells us very briefly.”

Esther did not immediately realize what was going on. “We received very little information,” Esther explains. “It’s only now starting to dawn on us. The shipping company only tells us very briefly. They do this, of course, to prevent the two thousand guests from panicking.”

At Réunion nothing was said, only that the authorities did not give permission to disembark. The ship continued to Mauritius, but no one was allowed ashore there either. Only in the morning did it become clear that it was related to an outbreak of cholera in Africa. “Cultures have to be sent and we are not allowed to leave the ship until February 27 in any case. We may have to be quarantined for an additional ten days. That is all we know,” says Esther.

She assumes that people with cholera symptoms have been quarantined. “Because everyone you see walking around here is in perfect health.

“This is and remains a luxury problem.”

“What is happening to us now is annoying, because next week my restaurant is fully booked and I don’t know if I will get home on time. And the internet connection here has been disconnected, so we are a bit deprived of news. But this is and remains a luxury problem “The guests are not required to stay in their cabin. We are allowed to walk anywhere on the ship. The restaurants are open, the swimming pool is open.”

“You notice that guests become irritated and irritable.”

The majority of the 2,184 passengers would actually start their journey home on Sunday. Employees of the Ministry of Health took samples from about fifteen people on board on Sunday morning. The results of this study are expected on Tuesday. According to authorities, at least fourteen passengers and one crew member suffered from diarrhea and vomiting.

“We’ll just have a beer at twelve o’clock.”

Fortunately, Esther, her husband and daughters have a positive attitude by nature. “We walk around here with a big smile, but the majority of the guests, well. When the news came through that we would not be allowed off the ship for the time being – after almost five days of aimless floating – people still reacted with dismay and anger. Mainly because we were deprived of information. On Sunday I noticed a kind of resignation, but this Monday I notice that guests are irritated and becoming irritable. Face masks are coming out again. But we will just have a beer at twelve o’clock. That will be fine!”