Newlyweds from North Texas are among the nearly 4,000 people stuck on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan, forced to quarantine after 135 onboard tested positive for the coronavirus.
The number increased by 65 on Monday. It includes 25 Americans and about 10 crew members.
Rachel and Tyler Torres, from Irving, have barely left their cabin since February 4, when their quarantine began.
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The couple was on a 15-day cruise to celebrate their honeymoon.
Now they're getting an unintended extended stay in limited square footage.
Still, they’re calling themselves "lucky" to have a balcony that provides sunlight and a view to the outside world.
It’s also provided a front-row seat to the disaster unfolding on the Diamond Princess.
Over the last few days, they’ve watched dozens loaded into ambulances.
“People that they’ve been taking off the boat have been leaving in quarantine bubbles with people in hazmat suits, and they’re being separated from their family who’s required to stay on the boat. So we’re just hopeful that we won’t be separated. And as long as we’re able to stay together in our cabin, I think we’re as happy as can be,” Rachel Torres said.
The couple said they were among the more than 200 passengers who had their throats swabbed for additional testing after answering "yes" to certain symptoms in an initial screening.
They said they were both at the end of a flu battle. And though they hadn’t received conclusive results Friday as to whether they were coronavirus negative, the couple felt sure they were when the ship left port.
They described the first couple of days as rough with limited food, no clean towels and a feeling that they were in the “Hunger Games” as passengers who’d tested positive were sporadically plucked from their rooms. Conditions have improved, they said.
Late last week, the couple said a woman in the cabin next to theirs tested positive.
"It was mom and daughter and the daughter got taken away. They've been separating families so I can't imagine how hard it is," Tyler Torres said.
The couple has occupied their time learning Spanish, new dance moves and the secret to solving a Rubik’s cube. They’re also grateful to have rented a portable Wi-Fi device that’s helped them stay connected when service on the ship has been spotty.
“We’re doing well. Facebook has helped a lot. Reddit has helped a lot in keeping us busy. We have a lot of people back home who are thinking of us and praying for us and we’re very thankful for that,” said Rachel.
Tyler said they felt reassured after hearing from the United States embassy Thursday who ensured them, they’d be removed from the ship once the quarantine ends on Feb. 19. When asked what more they’d like to see happen, he was able to show a sense of humor.
“We’d really like Whataburger to send an airdrop of Patti Melts,” Tyler Torres said.
“That would be great, and some Dr Pepper,” added Rachel on Friday.
Over the weekend, they said a friend in Japan sent them a care package which included toothpaste, a Nintendo game console, art supplies and the Dr Pepper she desperately wanted.
Though communication has been limited at times, the couple praised the ship's crew.
“Everybody on this ship is doing their very best. They’ve really stepped up. They’re doing all sorts of new procedures like delivering to over 1,000 state rooms three times a day," said Tyler.
To follow the couple's journey, check out Tyler's Reddit feed.
NBC 5's Meredith Yeomans contributed to this report.