Coronavirus dilemma: Anger and confusion as passengers left stranded
Travel News / 10 February 2020, 12:00pm / Staff reporter
Holidays are planned well in advance for many travellers.
The excitement of being able to relax after busy workdays and chore-filled weekends is enough to keep anyone optimistic.
That’s what Darren and Claire Vaughan believed would happen when they set sail on board Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas cruise to the Caribbean.
Instead of now frolicking in the warm weather, sipping copious amounts of cocktails and beers, the couple were stuck in Bayonne, waiting for their Royal Caribbean cruise to set sail.
According to the New York Post, the couple flew into Newark from the UK on Thursday but instead heard that the ship was docked at the New Jersey port after coronavirus scares.
Some passengers were being screened for the virus.
According to the New York Post, the couple's worst fears came to light when they watched four Chinese nationals being removed from the ship by paramedics on news clips on television and heard about how an additional 23 passengers from China, who had been kept in isolation for much of the 12-day cruise, were sent home.
The couple claim that the cruise company has not been helpful in finding them accommodation as they wait for their cruise to set sail.
“I’m angry, devastated and let down by a company that puts profits before their customers,” Darren told the publication.
“I was so furious,” Claire added, alleging that when she made attempts to call the company, they got automated responses directing them to the website.
“I got off the phone with them and my hands were shaking. It was like talking to an automated response. Every time I asked her a question, she just gave me the same answer as well, ‘Oh just look on the internet.," she said.
Royal Carribean said the ship will depart on Monday, February 10.
The company took to Twitter to share the news.
The tweet, in three parts, read: “We were just advised by the New Jersey Health Authority that they received the results from CDC, and the individuals tested negative for novel coronavirus. We appreciate your understanding during this unexpected and fluid situation.
“Our top priority is your health, safety, wellbeing, and that of our crew. We would never put you at risk, especially when it comes to health. With every decision we’ve made, it’s been important that we are overly cautious. So, thank you for your patience.
“As planned, we will depart from Cape Liberty, New Jersey at 3:00 PM EST on Monday, 2/10. Tomorrow, we'll share an update with you at 9:00 AM EST regarding your check-in and boarding times. For more info, please visit: http://royalcaribbean.com/AnthemUpdates.” (sic).
Let’s hope that the Vaughan truly get that well-deserved break.