Parents' Guide to

The Last Cruise

By Monique Jones, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Docu on COVID cruise ship inspires empathy, compassion.

TV Max Reality TV 2021
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Within only 40 minutes, this documentary gives a scathing snapshot of how class and race play huge roles in responses to the coronavirus pandemic. The Last Cruise uses footage of passengers and crewmembers to show what life was like on the ship before, during, and after the unexpected quarantine. The footage aboard the ship speaks for itself: Everyone onboard faced an unprecedented ordeal, but passengers still expected served hand and foot even during the pandemic. Many seemed to not realize that the crew also deserved the same human compassion they sought. A clear insinuation is that the passengers interviewed, who were mostly White, middle-aged, and middle- to upper-middle class, didn't fully recognize the humanity of those working below decks--a group often comprised of poor Southeast Asian workers earning money to take care of family back home while hoping to experience worldly locales.

While passengers were able to spend their quarantine overlooking the sea on their balconies, crew members were stuck in their windowless quarters below deck. Kitchen staff were still forced to serve passengers, working in close environments that made them more prone to catching the coronavirus. As a whole, the ship's crew were routinely forgotten about when it came to concern about living conditions and were forced to made hostage-style videos pleading to news networks for help. Even when passengers were able to be airlifted out and back to the Japanese mainland, crewmembers remained stuck on the ship until a video made by the crew urging government officials to help them finally led to their escape. On the whole, the film is a stark reminder of how America's own frontline workers have been mistreated during the coronavirus pandemic, often put at more risk of catching and dying from the virus than others. While the documentary doesn't dive into much more detail than what was shown in the amassed footage, The Last Cruise does ask viewers to be more mindful of those who are keeping the country running as smoothly as possible.

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