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

March 19, 2020
3 min read
Cruise ship 'draws' 16-mile-wide smile at sea as a departure gift for passengers
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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.

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.

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The image could be seen on ship tracking sites.

The cruise ship Marella Discovery on March 18 "painted" a picture of the Marella "smile" logo in the sea. (Image courtesy of Tui UK).
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.

Related: Cruises in many regions unlikely to resume for months

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

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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.

The Marella Cruises ship Marella Discovery 2. (Photo courtesy of TUI UK)
The Marella Cruises ship Marella Discovery 2. (Photo courtesy of TUI UK)

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

Visit TPG’s guide to all coronavirus news and updates

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

Additional resources for traveling during the coronavirus outbreak:

Featured image by The Marella Cruises ship Marella Discovery 2. (Photo courtesy of TUI UK)

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees