Aboard a US cruise ship that was rejected at Asian ports over coronavirus fears, stoic passengers kept their spirits up with poolside yoga, spin classes, comedy shows and a few drinks.
But the 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members of the Westerdam really rejoiced on Wednesday after learning Cambodia had given permission for the cruise liner to dock at Sihanoukville, on its southern coast.
The scheduled arrival Thursday will bring an end to what was meant to be a dream 14-day cruise across Asia beginning from Hong Kong on February 1, and disembarking on Saturday in Yokohama, Japan.
Japan, Guam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand all refused to allow the ship to dock, despite Holland America insisting there were no cases of the deadly disease which has killed over 1,100 on board.
Cambodia’s decision to receive the Westerdam comes as its strongman leader has voiced vocal support for China with premier Hun Sen going so far as to travel to Beijing last week in a show of solidarity.
The Southeast Asian nation -- with just one confirmed case of the SARS-like virus -- has been the recipient of billions of dollars in soft loans, infrastructure and investment from its superpower ally.
"Guests will be able to go ashore," operator Holland America said in a statement. "We are extremely grateful to the Cambodian authorities for their support." Even with their holiday plans in tatters, passengers made the most of the extraordinary circumstances -- some taking to social media to share amusing asides on life unwanted and at sea.