Wasilla family's cruise cut short due to Coronavirus

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) It was March 5th when Susie Schaefer and her husband Dave boarded the Coral Princess.

Wasilla resident Susie Schaefer aboard the Coral Princess.

"Everything was fine for us. We were hearing about the news at home and we were all fine and safe and healthy," she said over a Facetime interview.

The two were ready to set sail on their 32 days South American adventure out of San Antonio, Chile. However, the two had no idea their trip would be cut short about a week in.

"Then on March 11 or 12 was when word came down all cruises were being canceled. We were to just head for the next convenient port to fly home from," said Schaefer.

From there, the ship attempted to dock at several ports along the way but was unsuccessful.

Shaefer said, "Because of the Coronavirus, borders and political plans and governments are changing decisions every single day, every moment and at one moment we're prepared to get off the ship and the next moment they tell us, no you can't go anywhere, sorry, they won't let us in."

En route to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Susie said the hardest part of it all is the uncertainty.

"We don't know what we're going to face. We don't know if we're going to be let off the ship right away or if they are going to quarantine us once we get on land."

As the ship makes its way to land, passengers and staff are doing their part to minimize the risk.

"We are all taking measures to use hand sanitizer every time we go to eat to a bar a restaurant dining room, there are hand washing stations outside of the buffet, the staff is wiping down every surface and wall and counter and taking excellent care to minimize exposure to even a cold," said Schaefer.

What started as a cruise, Susie said now feels more like a means of transportation and they're just trying to make the best out of a situation knowing everyone around them is in the same boat.

"Yes, this isn't where most of us would choose to be right now, but we do recognize everything that is being done for us by the corporation and we are so appreciative of it," she said.

According to Princess' website, it sent 13 COVID-19 test samples to Barbados on March 31 and can confirm the results yielded 12 positive cases (7 guests and 5 crew). There are 1,898 people on board including 1,020 guests and 878 crew members.

Guests will continue to self-isolate in their staterooms, with all meals delivered by room service. Face masks are also being distributed to the remainder of the ship. Coral Princess is expected to arrive in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. on April 4th.

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