Who else did Claudius send on this trip? Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, for sure. There’s a captain and a crew (for fighting pirates, obviously – but also manning the ship). But who else is bound for England?
Tom Stoppard placed the Players on board – though I suspect that they probably usually travel on land – unless Claudius has specifically paid for their passage as far away from his kingdom as he can muster.
But who else? Is there someone Claudius cares about on this ship? Has he sent his buddy to England to collect some of that tribute he’s looking forward to receiving.
Does he have someone prepared to collect Hamlet’s head and bring it back to him? Who does Claudius trust to do his dirty work? Are there passengers that are hitching a ride from Denmark to England? The vanishing Marcellus – is he on board? Probably not. He disappeared too long ago. He probably caught a ship to Rome.
I like to imagine that there might be others on board – others that Claudius is as curious about as Hamlet. I’d very much like to see that ship’s log.