LOS ANGELES – More than three weeks at sea and some passengers are finally home.
The Norwegian Jewel cruise ship took off from Sydney, Australia on February 28. People were supposed to disembark March 20, but as COVID-19 spread that got pushed back several days.
The ship docked in Hawaii on Sunday.
A group of passengers landed at LAX late Tuesday night. Zoe Platek was one of them. She knew about the COVID-19 outbreak before boarding the ship.
“I think myself and most of the passengers there were like, well if they’re going to take the gamble, we’ll take the gamble,” said Platek.
Passengers were screened before getting on the Norwegian Jewel.
“I was very impressed that they actually looked at every single stamp in my passport to confirm that I hadn’t been to any infected countries,” said Platek.
The ship had plans to visit many countries, but plans quickly changed. Many ports refused to let the thousands of passengers disembark.
While there was uncertainty on land, at sea Platek didn’t see panic.
“It was actually a really good place to be at the time. We were on an isolated population in the middle of the ocean that didn’t have the virus. There was still dancing going on,” said Platek.
Part of the trouble was contacting the outside world. Platek says access to high speed internet was limited.
“Portions of days if not whole days that went by where we didn’t have the updated information and sometimes even we could get more updated information by searching Google,” said Platek.
Platek finally got off the ship in Honolulu. She had to answer two questions and they took her temperature. They were escorted to the tarmac for chartered flights to pre-selected cities.
“Considering that I’m fairly certain that nobody on the ship was sick, then it makes sense that they didn’t screen us very well,” said Platek.
This was Platek’s first cruise. Even after all this she says she would cruise again.
Platek says she was promised a refund for the cost of her cruise ticket.
Spectrum News 1 reached out to the cruise line. No response has been received yet.