A Maple Ridge couple are seeing their dream vacation turn into a nightmare.
Glen and Theresa Mund are among over 2,000 passengers on Norwegian Jewel, a cruise ship which has been travelling from port-to-port in the South Pacific without being able to dock.
More than 300 are Canadian.
What was supposed to be a trip filled with palm trees, and white, sandy beaches; has become one rife with anxiety and uncertainty.
The ship has been turned away from French Polynesia, Fiji and New Zealand and are now heading to Hawaii in hopes they are able to travel home from there.
After the previous port refusals, Glen is wary of getting his hopes up.
“The cheers were immense when the captain announced we were going to Hawaii,” he said.
“But every time there is an announcement they play this tone and chills go up my spine, as we are always expecting bad news.”
When the ship left from Sydney on Feb. 19, Glen said there was little talk of the virus on the Australian streets.
“There was a bit on the news, about the same as Canada, but when we boarded the ship, screening was intense,” he said.
“Many questions asked over-and-over, and lots of paperwork, and our temperatures were taken.”
Glen added passengers were a little surprised at all the fuss, but thought the cruise was taking great care, and being safe, so assumed all would be fine.
The measures taken before embarking may have made the passengers safe, as Glen said the ship’s captain had informed everyone, there is no one on board who is symptomatic.
However, while the fears of getting sick have been kept at bay for the passengers, the captain’s word has not been enough for countries worried about the virus creeping across their borders.
Travellers have been doing their best to keep spirits up while waiting to see what their future holds.
“Attitude is pretty good and everyone tries to support each other,” Glen said, ” The crew is amazing, and they are working hard to keep us happy.
“There has been odd incident of anger but nothing major.”
Glen and Theresa are going to the gym every day to relieve stress, and have befriended a few couples from the U.K., U.S. and Canada to pass their evenings with.
Unfortunately, when the day is done, the worry sets in.
“We are both not sleeping well,” Glen said.
“We feel most anxious at night when there is nothing else to think about. There are worse places we could be but we would rather be home near our family.”
They both have have elderly parents with underlying conditions and Theresa’s mother is not leaving the house. Their son, 22, is home alone and their daughter, 25 is in Maple Ridge too.
Norwegian Jewel is scheduled to dock in Honolulu at noon on March 22.
The couple are hopeful they will get a chance to fly home soon after and are trying their best to reach out to politicians to ensure it’s possible.
“We are trying every angle,” Glen said. “My family has talked to Marc Dalton and letters have been written to all applicable government departments.”
A Facebook group has been created for families of Norwegian Jewel passengers, where updates are being provided as they become available.