Disney + Hotstar’s The Last Cruise Review: A Superspreader Cruise Ship

Amazon Prime has released The Last Cruise, a documentary about the COVID-19 super-spreader cruise ship named Diamond Princess. The Last Cruise is directed and produced by Hannah Olson, known for her other HBO documentary titled Baby God.

In the early months, before COVID-19 spread worldwide and when almost no one knew about this deadly virus, a cruise ship called Diamond Princess set sail in South-East Asia. The cruise had around 3000 passengers and around 1000 crew members. The Last Cruise documents the lives of the people on board, how they get in contact with the virus, and how the ship becomes a hotspot.

A Dystopian Situation

The documentary uses footage of videos made by the people on board which sets a scary tone. It starts with people enjoying and having fun. No one is wearing a mask, as no one is even aware of COVID-19. Everyone is mingling and leaving the ship to explore the place they are at. Being aware of the cruise from news coverages last year, you will know what is going to happen. But at the same time, you will get a feeling that you are watching a post-apocalyptic movie.

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The Last Cruise under quarantine

As the virus starts to spread, The Last Cruise shows how people on board are made to quarantine in their rooms. The film identifies three American couples, who have made their own little documentaries of their 40 days quarantine on the ship. The Last Cruise also collects videos from the crew members who, unlike the passengers, have to continue to work in a close sphere.

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Eventually, the numbers of people who have been tested positive continue to increase. Everyone on board starts to get restless of being on a floating health hazard. We all have been through months and months of being inside our homes. So, we can understand how the passengers must feel. But it is worse as these people were not at their homes and with their families.

The Two Parallels

The Last Cruise depicts a parallel between the rich and the poor. It continuously changes between the videos of the passengers and the crew. The passengers are in a room, they are getting food and other supplies constantly. Whereas the crew members still have to work in tight quarters. Many of them are also scared to report their symptoms.

The passengers make themselves busy with whatever they can while the crew members work tirelessly. One of them also shares how it has started to affect their mental health. What can be drawn from this is parallel is that even though there are differences between the people on board but ultimately they are all in this together. As the number of positive cases starts to grow, Diamond Princess becomes a ghost ship. Some of the footage looks as if it belongs to a dystopian movie. The situation becomes more serious when The Last Cruise documents that two people have died due to the virus.

The Last Cruise Diamond Princess passenger

Eventually, the government of different countries plans an evacuation of those on board. We are shown a detailed evacuation of Americans in The Last Cruise. A U.S. military plane is used to take home the Americans on board. However, there are still many people of other nationalities who are still stuck. Many of them go on the news and send a distress call to their respective governments to help them.

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The Last Cruise is a chilling documentary for multiple reasons. Firstly, we are still living in this situation as the coronavirus is still widespread. Secondly, watching something familiar to us on screens makes The Last Cruise frightening. At the end of the documentary, we are told that in total there were 712 positive cases of coronavirus and 14 deaths on the cruise.

The Last Cruise Diamon Princess crew
Employees on the Diamond Princess in early 2020.

Diamond Princess became a case study for many scientists and doctors to identify different aspects of the virus. Through that, they were able to learn that COVID-19 was airborne and can spread through asymptomatic carriers. Olson’s direction made The Last Cruise a documentary that will make you feel anxious and sad, but you will still want to indulge in it.

You can watch The Last Cruise on Disney + Hotstar’s.

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The Last Cruise is an anxiety-inducing documentary that feels very close to home.
Ilina Singh
Escaping into films is more than just a hobby for me.

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