“Let us off the ship.”
That is the plea from two North Texans and fellow Americans stuck on a cruise ship that keeps getting turned away at ports due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Terrill and Belinda Phillips left their home in Granbury for a dream vacation in the South Pacific on Feb. 12.
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Now, they are among 2,000 people stuck aboard the Norwegian Jewel in the Pacific Ocean and they don’t know when they will ever get off.
According to the Phillips family, the ship has been denied port by Fiji, New Zealand and others, as ports around the region close due to the spread of COVID-19.
Their daughter said she and her siblings have spent days reaching out to the cruise line, lawmakers and the government for help.
“We have no idea who to get in touch with to help us,” their daughter Jenny Norris said. “The most frustrating part is the lack of communication. Norwegian Cruise Line has given very complicated back-and-forth stories.”
Norris said communication with her loved ones had been limited and they were not able to talk on the phone until two days ago.
They worry about the couple running out of critical medication and the health and safety of other passengers onboard.
As of this writing, the Phillips were told the ship would be allowed to dock in Honolulu on Sunday to refuel and restock supplies, but passengers would not be allowed off.
“No one expected this cruise to go on this long,” Norris said. “We want to get them off of there.”
Norris said there had been no reports of COVID-19 on the ship and she’s connected with family members of others stuck on the ship who are all reaching out to the U.S. government to allow passengers off in Hawaii.
NBC 5 reached out to Norwegian Cruise Lines and is awaiting a response.