Guests on the Diamond Princess were treated to a special Valentine’s Day meal, entertainment and flowers on Friday (Picture: EPA /PA)

Coronavirus doesn't stop Valentine's Day celebrations on quarantined cruise ship


More than 3,500 passengers may still be in coronavirus quarantine on cruise ship The Diamond Princess – but that doesn’t mean they missed out on Valentine’s Day.

Guests had their holidays destroyed, but staff were determined to treat them on the most loved-up day of the year, arranging meals, gifts and entertainment to make February 14 special.

Another 44 people aboard the vessel tested positive for coronavirus yesterday, bringing the total number of cases to 218, making it the largest outbreak outside mainland China.

Strict hygiene regulations on The Diamond Princess, which is moored at Yokohama Port in Japan, mean that those on board are only allowed on deck for hour-long periods.
One of the Valentine’s cards gifted to guests quarantined in their cabins (Picture: PA)
The cabin crew worked hard to make February 14 special (Picture: PA)

However, to replace the planned live performances and trivia games, the ship’s crew pre-recorded and uploaded Valentine’s-themed videos for the passengers’ cabin televisions.

Adults received presents including complimentary heart-shaped chocolates, roses, a collagen eye mask and hand cream, while children were given sweets and games and staff received chocolates and earbuds for music.

Dinner options such as ‘Cupid’s Avocado and Shrimp Salad’ and a ‘Valentine’s Day Surprise Dessert of the Day’ were also offered to guests.

A passenger named Tehya, 18, from Australia said: ‘Spending Valentine’s Day on the ship is honestly not that bad. The crew have treated us, not only today but every other day, so incredibly well. They have really gone above and beyond to make today special for us all.’

The teenager, who is sharing a cabin with her grandmother, said that health advice on the cruise ship had not changed on Valentine’s Day.

Three British passengers on the vessel have now tested positive for coronavirus – but things are looking hopeful for British honeymooner Alan Steele, who was transferred to a Japanese hospital last week, leaving his wife Wendy Marshall Steele on board.

The lorry driver said he had tested negative for the disease this week and will be released from the hospital if he passes one more test.
A special menu was offered giving guests a choice of tasty options (Picture: PA)
One passenger said spending Valentine’s Day on the coronavirus-hit ship was ‘honestly not that bad’ (Picture: PA)

On February 14, Mrs Steele posted to Facebook: ‘Happy Valentine’s Day to my gorgeous husband. Counting down the days until we see each other.’

David and Sally Abel, a British couple aboard the ship, said on Thursday that passengers had been given the option to leave and continue their isolation ashore if they tested negative for coronavirus.

The couple, who are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain they had decided to remain on the the ship and feared being separated if only one of them tested positive.

Mrs Abel said: ‘My biggest fear is we are going to be tested in the next couple of days because of our age… We have been together 50 years and, if one of us is infected and the other one isn’t, we will be separated.’

Japan confirmed its first death from the virus on Thursday, spurring a vow from officials in the country to step up testing and containment efforts.

The Department of Health said today 2,521 people in the UK have been tested, of whom 2,512 were confirmed negative and nine positive.