HBO has released the first trailer for its upcoming documentary The Last Cruise airing on March 30, 2021.
The upcoming film uses first-person footage to depict the nightmare faced by those on board the ill-fated Diamond Princess, which set sail from Japan during the earliest days of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Diamond Princess cruise ship set sail from Yokohama, Japan on Jan. 20, 2020 on what was supposed to be a 16-day round trip cruise. A little over a month later, the ship accounted for more than half of all the documented COVID-19 cases outside of China, with 700 people on board infected. The Diamond Princess had 2,666 guests onboard—of which about a half were Japanese residents—and 1,045 crew members.
All those on board faced a terrifying ordeal as the ship was unable to dock and passengers were unable to leave their rooms for weeks due to quarantine restrictions. On top of that, the infected crew members had to continue to work to keep the ship running.
The documentary, directed and produced by Hannah Olson, uses intimate footage recorded by the passengers and crew on the ship offering viewers a chilling first-hand look at what it was like to be quarantined aboard the cruise ship.
"It started as a vacation. It ended as a nightmare," the film's tagline reads on the poster.
Here’s the show’s official synopsis:
The quarantined Diamond Princess floating in a Japanese harbor became a global spectacle—a faraway symbol of the new virus and its potential to upend any sense of normalcy. Otherworldly scenes—scientists in hazmat suits, passengers in face masks and cleaning teams spraying disinfectant on empty shipboard buffets—packed the nightly news. With little information available about the new virus and limited access to resources, the ship’s cases soared.
Passengers were quarantined in their staterooms for weeks while the number of cases on board skyrocketed. Meanwhile, the crew tended to the passengers, delivered room service and slept and dined in cramped, shared quarters. They’d become what we’d later term “essential workers.” The ship would ultimately account for the first citizens of Argentina, Israel, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, and New Zealand to test positive for COVID-19.
While the Diamond Princess was in quarantine, US government scientists studied what was transpiring on board. Despite their findings that the virus was likely airborne and that asymptomatic people contributed to the spread, it would be more than one month before the CDC advised the use of masks and more than two months—and one million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States—before the CDC advised testing asymptomatic people who had been exposed to the virus.
Following its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in the Documentary Shorts Competition category, the HBO original documentary The Last Cruise will debut on March 30, 2021 on HBO and will also be available to stream on HBO Max.
(Images via HBO Max)