SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio couple says keeping a positive attitude got them through weeks of quarantine after being on the Princess Diamond cruise ship where some passengers contracted the coronavirus.
After being held on the ship two weeks after they were supposed to disembark, they spent weeks at JBSA-Lackland under federal quarantine.
“It was more like an adventure than it was an ordeal,” said evacuees Don and Naty, who didn’t want to reveal their last name.
The couple was excited about taking a cruise throughout Asia from Japan. The retired couple boarded the Diamond Princess cruise ship Jan. 20 and enjoyed their cruise, laughing, dancing and eating.
They expected to disembark Feb. 4, but then something happened.
“The captain increased the ship's speed and got us back in on the third. So, we knew something was happening,” Don said.
They learned that a fellow passenger who felt sick and got off the ship in Hong Kong tested positive for COVID-19, which meant they would have to be quarantined on the ship.
“We went inside our state room. Wow. Somebody put our suitcase back. Something is happening. That is not good,” Naty said.
A friend they made on the cruise ship from Australia tested positive. Don and Naty kept a positive attitude during the quarantine and even enjoyed a modest Valentine’s Day celebration. They also got encouragement from outsiders.
“We had one guy come by in his boat dressed like Spider-Man or something,” Don said.
They finally got off the ship on Feb. 17 and immediately boarded a plane for JBSA-Lackland.
They were once again quarantined for weeks, but they kept high spirits until they learned their quarantine might have to be extended.
“That was a point of total frustration and low spirits,” Don said.
After assessing public risk, a federal judge ruled they could leave. One of the first things they did after getting home yesterday was vote.
“We get to vote,” Naty said.
“We were so concerned that we would not get the chance to vote,” Don said.
Princess Cruise Line gave the couple a refund and also gave them credit toward another trip, which they plan to use in a couple of months for a 56-day cruise.