Cruise Ship Blackface Painting Stuns Honeymooning Washington Couple

A couple celebrating their honeymoon on a cruise departing from Barcelona were shocked to find a racially insensitive artwork in a corridor aboard their ship, the MSC Seaview.

The painting shows a man in blackface with exaggerated red lips, leering at a white woman in a red dress, while holding on to one of her arms. Laura Eka and her husband Ebong (who is black) said the caricature made them feel "unwelcome and uncomfortable," prompting them to complain to MSC Cruises, Cruise Law News reports.

"Nothing like being greeted w/ some racism on our honeymoon. Is this the what you think is appropriate in 2018?" Eka tweeted after the couple—who live in Washington D.C.—first noticed the painting, which they say left them infuriated.

The couple weren't the only ones offended by the image. A group of black veterinarians from the U.S., accompanied by family and friends, were also upset by what they saw, they said.

"This decision wasn't made in a vacuum; there were multiple levels of approval, multiple people who said, 'Yeah, these pictures should go here,'" Ebong Eka told The Miami New Times. "You had to walk by it every day and remind yourself that you're not welcome here."

Laura Eka said she tried to deal with the complaint privately initially, but MSC Cruises did not respond. As a result she began repeatedly calling them out with a series of posts on Twitter.

A spokesperson for the company told New Times: "We are aware a guest complained about this Belle Époque artwork, and as soon as we received such feedback, we immediately took action to remove the visual. We're sorry if this offended anyone."

MSC Cruises also tweeted a response to one of Laura Eka's posts on Twitter yesterday which read: "This painting has been long removed, shortly after you first brought this to our attention. Racism or any form of discrimination have no place in society or on board our ships. We extend our sincerest apologies if this offended anyone."

However, Laura Eka was not pleased with the delayed response. She tweeted: "How many steps of approval did this have to go through before it was allowed on the ship? I've been tweeting you for weeks and now only once media picks it up do you care to address it. BOYCOTT MSC. REFUND OUR MONEY AND MAKE IT RIGHT. I don't want your media apology."

"Why wasn't it removed when we TOLD YOU ON THE SHIP?! F*** it was a daily reminder that we were not welcome on your ship. YOU DONT GET IT."

MSC Cruises, headquartered in Geneva, is the world's largest privately held cruise company, employing a total of around 16,500 people. The MSC Seaview was specifically designed to appeal to American passengers.