That traveller's tale brought back some old memories.
I travelled down to Goa on that ship a couple of times in the 1980's. There were no luxuries of bedsheets. I fought my way on to the hatch-cover on the fore-deck, and tried to spread myself out as far as I could to claim as much space as possible, just as everyone else did. After an hour of trying to have as much space as possible everyone was reduced to just enough to sit or sleep curled up. By then the aggro stopped and everyone became very friendly for the 20 hour voyage.