Cruise ship ‘draws’ 16-mile-wide smile at sea as a departure gift for passengers

These are dark times in the world as the new coronavirus rages, and there’s not a lot of upbeat news. But one small cruise ship has just given us a reason to smile.

a large ship in a body of water

The 2,074-passenger Marella Discovery 2 on Tuesday “painted” a 16-mile-wide picture of the Marella Cruises “smile” logo in the sea near Jamaica as it prepared to suspend operations.

The image could be seen on ship tracking sites.

a close up of a map: The cruise ship Marella Discovery on March 18 “painted” a picture of the Marella “smile” logo in the sea. (Image courtesy of Tui U.K.).

A spokesperson for Marella Cruises’ parent company, TUI U.K., said the ship’s captain, Jason Ikiadis, and his bridge team worked together to create the smile in the waves while carrying out routine maneuvers while anchoring in Montego Bay.

“They wanted to do something that would make both our customers and teams smile as a thank you for supporting us during these unprecedented times,” the line said in a statement to The Points Guy.

The maneuver came as Marella Discovery 2 was in the process of suspending operations. Like all major cruise lines, Marella Cruises is halting all voyages for at least the next month due to the coronavirus outbreak. It has canceled all sailings departing through April 16.

Known as Thomson Cruises until 2017, Marella Cruises is a British line that caters mostly to British vacationers. It currently operates six ships.

Marella Cruises is part of of the TUI Group, one of the world’s largest travel companies. In addition to cruise ships, the TUI Group owns travel agencies, hotels and airlines.

Cruising regulars may recognize the distinctive profile of Marella Discovery 2. The vessel formerly was Royal Caribbean‘s Legend of the Seas, the lead ship in Royal Caribbean’s highly successful Vision Class series that began debuting in 1995.

The ship was transferred from Royal Caribbean to TUI in 2017.

In its statement, Marella Cruises looked ahead to a time when the coronavirus crisis had passed and the world could return to traveling.

“We’ll be ready and waiting to set sail with our customers soon,” the line said.

Featured image courtesy of Marella Cruises.

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Related video: Millions of jobs could be lost in the travel industry (provided by MSNBC)

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