In 40 poignant minutes, Olson identifies three American couples, the most memorable being Mark and Jerri Jorgensen, heads of a hospital drug treatment center for pornography and sex addiction. They are forever shredded even when the going does not call for a good mood. Conversely, among the selected crew members there is Indonesian dishwasher Dede Samsul Fuad, who started working on cruisers to explore the world, provides us with fascinating behind-the-scenes footage of the inner workings of the ship. . In a documentary that is not so much investigative as it is revealing, the two spectra provided by cell phones from both sides show a ship initially free from the virus – passengers still participating in parties, group workouts and other activities on board – only to panic over the next few days as infections skyrocketed.
The film’s kitsch score leaves a lot to be desired, taking on a dystopian ‘Blade Runner’ tone as the enormity of the situation becomes clear, then enveloping a horror film vibe as circumstances on board turn dire. Still, Olson teases the claustrophobic fears felt by passengers and crew, and the gloom that arises when the facts are withheld. Princess Diamond’s captain might say the situation is “under control”, but when the white hazmat suits appear at the port and the flood of suite doors denote the infected by simply saying “COVID-19,” the opacity of officials can only cause concern for those in front of the camera.
While the narrative scope is mostly limited to the ship, we get a glimpse of the hospital rooms as the positive passengers are separated from the ship. On the Princess Diamond, there are two worlds: the passengers waiting for room service in their spacious apartments filled with exterior decks, and the tireless crew below deck that keeps the ship running, working below the waterline where the light does not penetrate. Pastry chef Maruja Daya, for example, explains how she works 13 hours a day for a salary of $ 997 a month. In his recordings, Dede often notes how he can now enter certain restricted areas – the lavish parts of the ship reserved for travelers – now that the halls are empty. The Princess Diamond is still the Titanic, where payment is the privilege of serving.