Stranded. Passengers on the quarantined corona virus Silver Shadow cruise ship held in Brazil have a story to tell. Boredom is the main emotion of the two oldest (but feisty) Britons on board.

18 March 2020 By Paul Martin

By Paul Martin.

“I was concerned my medical team may have had the virus, but the results have come back negative. I want to congratulate our chief doctor and his team who did a great job,” said the Sliver Shadow’s captain in an announcement heard in all the cabins and by

He added: “All on board have been very co-operative, and understand the situation.”

From his cabin, one of the 108 British passengers trapped on board the Silver Shadow, told in an exclusive interview : “We’ve been bored but well.

“It’s been frustrating of course. But at least we have a cabin with a balcony and we can shout to our next-door ‘inmates’,” Alan Cohen, 89, said.

“I feel sorry for those passengers who don’t even have balconies. To be enclosed like that is a very unpleasant experience.

Alan Cohen, 89, speaking on a WhatsApp call from his cabin in which he and his wife Gwen ae confined.

Gwen, 86, told “I feel this was an overreaction.”

But Alan thinks the crew and the authorities handled things efficiently.

“In my opinion they have been doing it reasonably. You would think we’ve all got it, but you heard what the captain just said: there is no-one on the ship who has any sign of it.

Asked why, at their late-eighties ages, they had gone on a cruise in the current environment, Alan said: “It was a very difficult decision. We were thinking of cancelling it but there was not the hype there is now. We thought going up the South American coast we would be free of all this.

“The doctor and a nurse came once a day, rang the doorbell. We cautiously opened the door and there they were, dressed in all-white coverings and mask and so on, as if they came from another world.

“The doctor stood by the door. His nurse actually put that thermometer thing about half an inch from our heads, and called out the readings. The doctor told us our temperatures were normal.

“The food was left outside the door, but first a crew member left us a menu. They looked after us very well.”

In recent years Alan, who turns 90 this summer, has lectured on cruise ships about the History of Art and its links with music, though he says this is “just a hobby”.

He said they could afford a cruise on the recently refurbished upmarket Silver Shadow as he had worked all his life in a family business that owned five factories.

“We manufactured furniture in woods and plastics, mainly in east London.”

Alan said the couple had had an active communal life. “Both my wife and myself were magistrates (me till 1990). I was also a Councillor in the London Borough of Barnet about 50 years ago.

“We got married when Gwen was 20 and I was 23, in Glasgow, but lived most of our lives from then on in London.

“We had hoped to celebrate our 66th anniversary (on the 16th March) in style on this cruise.  Instead, we’ve had to raise a cup of tea, confined inside our cabin this time – definitely no champagne!”

From their wedding to their 65th anniversary celebration. Their ‘celebrated’ their 66th confined to their cabin on the 16th March.

“At least we could wave from our balcony to others out on their balconies.

“We could all phone each other via the internal cabin to cabin system, and hear announcements from the captain.

Promotion video for Silver Shadow cruise ship, hosting 388 guests, after 30 million dollar refurbishment in 2018.

“The nice thing was how sociable everyone on board this cruise was.

“And yes, I am looking forward to another cruise some day!”

Gwen Cohen, 86, in a WhatsApp chat from the cabin in which she and her husband Alan are confined.

Asked how much money they had spent in going on the cruise, Alan answered: “The total cost of a trip like this was high – I’d rather not say how much! We have some travel and cruise insurance, so we will be able to get back a certain amount of it.

“It doesn’t really matter. All we want is to get back happily and safely ourselves.”

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