CNN – Texan newlyweds Jay and Carmen Martinez went straight from celebrating their beachside wedding to embarking on a globe-trotting honeymoon cruise across the South Pacific on board the Norwegian Jewel.
Ahead of the February 28 departure date in Australia, the couple had worried about the spread of coronavirus but didn't have the option to cancel the 23-day trip they'd booked two years earlier.
Now they are among thousands of passengers still at sea aboard more than 30 oceangoing cruise ships, some still hunting for a port that will accept them amid a global shutdown of the cruise industry and mounting fears of infection.
The Norwegian Jewel is believed to be heading for Hawaii, but there's no official word on its final destination and the ship has already been turned away from several ports.
“We had hesitations,” Jay Martinez tells CNN Travel about their preboarding apprehension. The couple looked into amending their plans but were told they were locked in.
"Up until the day that we left, that was not an option," says Jay, "And with us having so much money invested into our honeymoon, we had no other choice but to board the ship."
The couple feared their itinerary might be curtailed, but they never expected that they'd end up stranded at sea, their ship scrambling for a place to dock.