It was a sweltering summer’s day in Cape Town harbour and embarkation for the ‘Love Jazz’ cruise was pandemonium. The MSC Orchestra towered above us like a white apartment block. My prospective shipmates in the queue weren’t wasting any time getting into the swing of things. Some were dressed in matching blue-and-white sailor outfits; others were already breaking into song. Eventually, the gangway ushered me into a blissfully air-conditioned interior where I checked in and took a lift to my cabin on Deck 12.

I was just settling into the relatively spacious quarters with balcony overlooking Duncan Dock when the compulsory emergency drill was announced. All passengers had to

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