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Bring me whisky: Spirited plea from virus cruise ‘prisoner’

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The Diamond Princess cruise ship (top, centre) is seen off the port of Yokohama on Wednesday. At least 10 people on a cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Japan have tested positive for the new coronavirus, Japan’s health minister said on Wednesday. AFP

Bring me whisky: Spirited plea from virus cruise ‘prisoner’

One banana a day, washed down with neat whisky: that’s the humble request from a British passenger on the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship off Japan whose Facebook posts have made him an online star.

Resplendent in a magnificent holiday flowery shirt, David Abel has both informed and entertained the world with a unique British humour as he delivers regular updates from the Diamond Princess, where thousands are being held in strict quarantine.

“I know that room service are also getting these messages . . . so can I just give you a message . . . could someone on room service just bring me a fresh banana, every day? Just one banana, that’s all I’m asking,” he pleaded in his most recent post.

“If the captain is listening to this: you needn’t get involved on the banana – the room service will sort that, I’m sure – but it would be really good to have a glass of whisky to wash it down.

“I take Talisker, 10-year-old single malt, no ice, no water. It would be fantastic if that could be arranged,” he laughed.

Abel said he had been inundated with requests from the global media desperate for inside information from the cruise ship – “I’m not bragging, it’s just the way it is.”

But he himself has proved a valuable source of information on life on board the ship, where passengers are bracing for 14 days of quarantine after 20 cases of coronavirus were discovered.

“It’s a horrible situation for most passengers onboard, being stuck here, confined to the cabin. We are not allowed outside the room,” he said, sympathising especially with those with inside cabins.

“It must be almost unbearable for them.”

‘Without water, neat’

Abel said there was a dearth of information from the crew and captain – passengers had not yet been informed about the 10 new cases revealed earlier on Thursday – and he worried that this could extend the quarantine period.

“Hopefully, we’ll be home before Christmas,” he laughed.

In an earlier post, Abel said the food had taken a decided turn for the worse since the quarantine measures were imposed – “we are definitely not on a luxury cruise” – and said the trip of a lifetime had turned into a “floating prison”.

But his upbeat demeanour and positive messages won him a torrent of messages on Facebook.

“Come on folks, have a wonderful day wherever you are in the world. Keep smiling, make the best of every circumstance. Don’t live under the circumstances, live above them. Make the most of whatever life throws at you,” he said.

However, he could not resist some tongue-in-cheek advice for those trapped in inside cabins.

“No natural light. No fresh air. Thank goodness we do have a balcony and somebody commented this morning: they’ve learned a lesson from this, pay a bit extra to have a balcony. Oh wow, it’s so worth it.”

Without fresh air, some people were developing cough from the air conditioning and then being terrified it was an early symptom of the coronavirus, he said.

Abel finished his latest message with a plea for information from the captain – and wedding stories from his latest followers to pass the time.

“When we get an announcement from the captain, which we must anytime soon – I guess it will be when he personally delivers the glass of Talisker, 10-year-old without water, without ice, neat. I guess when he brings that to the cabin, I’ll have some really fresh news for you.”

“Oh my word! Get those wedding stories coming in! Over and out.”

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