Cruise line boss Jan Swartz: One day I’d like to share a whisky with British couple at the centre of Diamond Princess Covid outbreak

Jan Swartz in the live video call to the CLIA conference

The woman who was in charge of Princess Cruises during the Diamond Princess Covid outbreak in February last year says she’d love to share a whisky with the British couple at the centre of the drama.

Jan Swartz was president of Princess Cruises when the ship was struck by more than 700 cases at Yokohama, near Tokyo, at the beginning of the worldwide pandemic.

David Abel on Diamond Princess

David and Sally Abel, who were on board, became the face and voice of passengers confined to their cabins when they made daily Facebook videos.

One day, Mr Abel, who had been pining for Talisker whisky, was sent a bottle to his room with a message from Ms Swartz saying: ‘We want to thank you for helping keep spirits high on board and we hope you enjoy these spirits as a gesture of our appreciation.’

In a video call to the CLIA Selling Cruise Day conference in Southampton today, Ms Swartz – now the president of Holland America Group – said: ‘David was taken quite ill while on board but we struck up a friendship as we sent him some whisky during his quarantine before he got ill because of his plea via Facebook.

‘We’ve stayed in touch and exchanged quite a few emails. In some of my darker days I received notes of encouragement from him after his recuperation in hospital that really lifted my heart and helped me press on, so one of the things I’m most looking forward to is one day joining David and Sally for a whisky on board a Princess cruise.’

Read my day-by-day report on the Diamond Princess outbreak for the Daily Telegraph (subscription service)

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