UPDATED: 03/29/20 11:15 p.m.
Cruise ships obviously aren’t on the water much these days, and one Carnival crew stuck in the Port of Tampa while the coronavirus wreaks havoc on our lives has a message for Tampa Bay:
“We will be back <3”
The love note came in spite of news that the cruise industry won’t get much, if anything, from the $2-trillion coronavirus relief package signed into law last week. The biggest funding bill in U.S. history is expected to help airlines and hospitality companies, but cruise lines like Carnival don’t appear to qualify for loans or relief grants according to most reports.
You can see the note—spelled out using cabin and balcony lights—in video captured by local filmmaker Ben Bradley and his wife Alessa Bradley, who does freelance social media management for a handful of local Tampa businesses. The couple has been freelance shooting videos together for clients for a year and a half. Ben's been doing it for nearly a decade. They just canceled two-year anniversary plans in Hawaii due to the coronavirus.
“My wife and I captured this video on our DJI Mavic 2 Pro last night—from our condo's balcony, #socialdistancing while still creating!.” Ben, who owns Right Hand Films told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. “We’ve been staying indoors as much as possible, but are really enjoying spending time together and getting creative with creative things to do around the house.”
Cruise ships stay in the headlines as the coronavirus sweeps across the world. Just today, two Costa Cruises ships anchored near the port of Miami with ill crew members on board.
A spokesperson for Costa Cruises parent company Carnival told USA Today that the vessels received permission from port and health officials to anchor and have sent boats to shore. And as WFTS pointed out, there’s one Florida couple stuck on cruise ship with dozens of sick passengers, that’s scheduled to dock in Ft. Lauderdale.
Ben, who works in Tampa and out-of-state, told CL that the fallout from the coronavirus has been pretty shocking on the business side of his life.
“We lost three booked video projects to conference cancellations and lack of safety in air travel… it’s been a tough turn of events for us,” he said.
He is, however, making the most of his new time off.
“I’m working on an online video course teaching people my method for creating videos, and I’ve also started putting my archived footage up on for sale on stock footage sites. So we are adapting and not letting this hold us back,” Bradley added.
“It was great to create this video in light of mostly negative news about coronavirus. Glad to bring a little positivity to our city.”
Vance Gulliksen, PR manager for Carnival Corporation, told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that the message is appearing on all Carnival ships in port or anchored where visible from land starting Thursday.
“The ‘We Will Be Back’ message is meant to uplift spirits and serve as a reminder that cruising creates a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories,” Gulliksen wrote, adding that Carnival is taking part in the industry-wide pause in operation.
“Iilluminating ships with messages was a little tricky but fun at the same time, according to Stefan Christoffersson, Carnival’s vice president of housekeeping who is part of the team that worked on the project,” Gulliksen added.
After reviewing deck plans for each of the company’s ships to determine which staterooms will spell out this hopeful message, shipboard teams had to physically turn on the lights of hundreds of staterooms.
“All without knowing what the finished product would look like,” Gulliksen wrote.
“In the end, it’s very similar to turning on your Christmas tree once you’re done decorating and seeing how it all turned out,” Christoffersson said, noting that overall these highly synchronized projects are going off without a hitch. “We haven’t had one ‘We’ll Be Bock’ or ‘We’ll Be Buck.’”
The five-year-old child in us wants to say, “You know what rhymes with ‘Buck,’ right?”
“The crew takes a great deal of pride in their jobs and this project in particular has extra important meaning to them. More than anything our crew members want everyone to know that they are doing well and can’t wait to get back to the business of creating memories,” Christoffersson added.
“[This was] a process that took coordination between Carnival’s Miami headquarters and ships docked in ports along the East and West Coasts, Gulf of Mexico, Southern California and Australia or anchored at sea.”
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