Date: 3/9/2020
To: A. Ron Spelling
Cc: Doug Scramer
From: Capt. Merrill Stubing
RE: RE: Pacific princess Covid-19 outbreak containment: social distancing
Priority: URGENT

In response to your Memo, “COVID-19 OUTBREAK CONTAINMENT; SOCIAL DISTANCING,” dated 3/1/20, I must once again voice my concern about the handling of the outbreak and isolation of the Pacific Princess, her crew and passengers. There are several pressing issues that require your immediate attention and cannot be solved by, “telling [my] ship full of middle-aged horndogs to keep it in their pants for a few more days while [you] assess the situation.”


As we discussed, when the decision was made to hire eight “mermaids” to perform dance numbers, lounge by the pool, and occasionally act as croupiers in the ship’s casino, we need MORE THAN ONE DOCTOR. Dr. Bricker is a wonderful physician, but his decades of training and experience, primarily focused on combatting the spread of social diseases on the high seas, did not prepare him for the outbreak of a highly contagious virus. Further, even if he was an expert on viral contagions, he is just one doctor with no support staff. See my staffing requests dated literally every month from 1977 to present if further support is required for immediate approval of the hiring of an entire medical staff.

At present, Dr. Bricker has quarantined himself in his room, refusing to see patients. He has two jars of medicine propped on either side of his door: the morning-after pill to the left, penicillin to the right. His choice of medication is appropriate. His reliance on the honor system is perhaps overly trusting.

Our Ship’s Purser, generally the most genial of our crew, is dangerously close to crossing a line he won’t be able to uncross. While he still wears the courteous and professional smile befitting his position on the Pacific Princess, there’s a darkness in his eyes, an emptiness that betrays an unease stirring just below the surface. Following an incident last Tuesday, wherein he threatened to throw Ms. Finch’s terrier into the pool on the lido deck, the passengers have begun to take a wide berth upon seeing him. He has taken to muttering, “Why don’t you go for it,” under his breath as he stalks menacingly along the decks. Ms. McCoy has not spoken to him in nearly two weeks.

Speaking of our ship’s Cruise Director, Julie McCoy, she is quite beside herself. For years, she has dedicated herself to helping people meet, fall in love, copulate, break up over a slight misunderstanding, get back together, and copulate some more before disembarking. And now, the one marketable skill she has, beyond a cloying chipperness that has long since past its expiration date, is actively killing people. Before he locked himself in his room, Doc prescribed her with a month’s worth of lithium. The effect of which has been to keep her pretty close to the head at all times. She could use some bismuth tablets, but we only have ONE DOCTOR and he won’t come out of his room.

Our bartender, Mr. Washington, has similarly removed himself from the general population of the Princess following a run-in with a passenger who insisted he be given an entire bottle of vodka to sterilize his hands, face, eyes, and throat. Isaac and Mr. Dwyer got into a fistfight that I worry may leave poor Mr. Dwyer wheelchair-bound. Isaac has barricaded himself behind the bar, determined to protect the passengers from the ills of liquor, and the danger he fears he poses to their safety. He has shaved his mustache. It’s off-putting.


There’s no delicate way to put this. The passengers won’t stop making whoopie with one another. We posted signage about limiting physical contact, washing their hands, not touching their own (or anyone else’s) faces. We make reminder announcements over the loudspeaker at the top and bottom of each hour. And still they fornicate. This is due, in large part, to the reputation the ship has, a well-deserved reputation at that, for creating an atmosphere where romantic encounters are almost guaranteed to happen. We’ve marketed ourselves for decades as the PG-version of hedonism, and it has worked. Please extend my congratulations to the marketing department.

Ms. Lopez, our most frequent passenger, continues to run along the deck in a low-cut dress shouting “Cuchi-Cuchi” at all the men and many of the women while waving her hands excitedly in the air. I would say it is bad luck that she happened to be on board when the coronavirus struck, but she’s always on board so that odds that we’d shove off without her were still slim.

Ms. McCoy has canceled all dances, mixers, cocktail hours, and poolside get-togethers. To no avail. The hanky panky continues unabated. One small piece of good news is that, while the deep and everlasting lifelong long connections we create aboard the Princess continue apace, the passengers have, at long last and after our years and years of pleading, begun using protection. They are washing their hands, which, as you know, is a challenge on all cruise ships. And they are finally using condoms.

While the rest of the world tries to find the bright side to a pandemic in the decreased carbon emissions that come when large swaths of the workforce stay home for weeks on end, we are expecting to see a severe decrease in the percentage of passengers who must begin immediate treatment for gonorrhea and syphilis. We’ve also had fewer positive pregnancy tests per capita than on a typical voyage.

Small favors.


To help us weather the storm that threatens to remove any and all love from this boat, I ask you to immediately send a crew of doctors, nurses, contagious disease specialists, enough test kits for all passengers and crew aboard, enough Hazmat suits to facilitate free and easy movement of the ship’s crew into the more, shall we say, fluid-active sections of the ship, a transport to carry my daughter off the ship once and for all, and condoms. Lots and lots of condoms. We’re almost out.

Very Truly Yours,
Capt. Merrill Stubing
Pacific Princess