They were supposed to end their trip in Papeete, Tahiti and then fly home to Kelowna.
But they’ve been stuck in MS Maasdam, which has docked in Honolulu, Hawaii since March 19.
Al Janusas and his wife Heidi Adhofer said the cruise started off on March 1 in Auckland, New Zealand. But as the COVID-19 outbreak worsened, the ship’s passengers were gradually told they were barred from nearly half of the ports they were scheduled to visit.
Janusas said on March 12, they were told the ship was going directly to Hilo, Hawaii instead of Tahiti. They were in the Cook Islands at the time, and some passengers with confirmed flights home were allowed to disembark and fly home.
But Janusas and Adhofer stayed in the ship.
“The only flights departing were routed through Auckland, which was 3,000 kilometres in the opposite direction required by Canadians,” he said.
“The ship started steaming towards Hilo, Hawaii on March 13. All the remaining passengers eventually managed to change their travel arrangements. On Mar. 16, Holland America announced we were again changing our destination to go non-stop to Honolulu. All the travel arrangements were modified again.”
And since then, they’ve been docked at Honolulu, unable to get out of the ship. Janusas said no one on board is symptomatic or sick, but the ship’s staff have raised cleaning and hygiene levels on board.
He added the ship has been refuelled and replenished, but still they weren’t allowed to disembark, with a heavy policy presence on the ship jetty and the U.S. Coast Guard patrolling the harbour.
“We and other Canadians on board are trying to comply with our government’s directive to return home as soon as possible, but we’re being barred from leaving despite no infections n board,” he said.
“There are passengers here from all across Canada, including many from B.C. and a few from the Okanagan… our fate remains in limbo.”
Janusas said they’ll keep trying their best to get back to Kelowna, but he hopes the Canadian government can help them disembark and finally get home.