"" Writer's Wanderings: Hazmat On Our Deck? What's Up?

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Hazmat On Our Deck? What's Up?


Our view for dinner.

In the early days of our cruise, we noticed some rooms being cleaned a couple doors from us. The attendants were in hazmat jumpsuits and plastic shields, not the heaviest hazmat you see but definitely enough to get our attention. We shrugged it off thinking that perhaps the rooms were just getting a thorough cleaning after the last cruise. After all, the ship wasn't all that full of guests--only about 1/3 capacity. Maybe they were cleaning those rooms after the usual turn around day to save some time on the day when new guests arrive.

Then a few days ago we noticed room service delivering breakfast to the two rooms next to us that we thought had been empty. The doors were each opened by a young man and the room service tray was handed to them. Not the usual room service procedure and certainly not the usual fare. Everything was in paper cups and I think plates. It happened so quickly and they seemed uncomfortable that we'd seen them. 

Fast forward about three days and we again saw attendants in hazmat clothes cleaning the room. Unsettling. Should we ask? Should we not? Do we really want to know? The answer during the elevator ride was yes.

We had already asked our stateroom attendant and she had insisted there was no one in the rooms beside us. Well, maybe she thought we were asking about the room to the left and not the right. Or, maybe she was hiding something. It was definitely time to get some answers.

The reception desk told us that those rooms were being used to isolate some of the crew members who were not sick or positive but had had contact with someone who was. That certainly explained the three day period that the rooms seemed to be occupied.

Then later that day, our stateroom attendant came to us and said that she had spoken with her supervisor who said the rooms were used to isolate new crew members for 3-5 days to be sure they were not infected. Once they tested negative, they were off to their assigned duties.

Two stories but both make sense. We were also assured that there were no passengers with COVID and only two crew members--obviously the kitchen staff who had tested positive. That probably explained the two fellows in the rooms. If the contact with the positives was a reason for their isolation, then the explanation makes sense--especially when we greeted the one young man who was leaving the room with smiles and answered yes to Bob's question of "Out of isolation?"

On a brighter note, it was Black Tie Optional night and we ate at the Silk restaurant which has mostly a Chinese menu but much better than the usual fare on land. I had my favorite, Mongolian lamb chops, tender and tasty. Sadly, there weren't many people there to enjoy the food. But when you consider the reduced capacity, there aren't that many people to go around.

Our show was a sampling of Broadway hits, West Side Story, Something's Rotten and Rent. We've seen it before but it never gets old. 

The notice in our room told us we would be tested in the morning since we are continuing on. Nothing to study for and just a little mild anxiety. Still we will sleep well with an extra hour to get back on Eastern Standard Time before our arrival in Miami in another day. Hope my watch stem holds out with the time changes that will be ahead over the next few months.

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