The Diamond Princess cruise ship had been a nightmare for the 3,700 passengers aboard after 620 of them ended up infected with coronavirus.
But despite a two-week quarantine on the ship and more time quarantined in Texas, at least one couple on the Carnival-owned (CCL) ship said they would “absolutely” take another cruise.
Cheryl and Paul Molesky, two passengers from Syracuse, New York, spoke to Yahoo Finance from a quarantine facility in Texas, praising the cruise line’s response.
“We feel they were handling it very well,” said the couple. “We were very happy with the captain, the crew, and Princess Cruises.”
The couple had enjoyed a “lovely cruise vacation,” and it was only on the last night where things began to go wrong. Passengers were tested and a two-week quarantine was established.
The couple’s sentiment at least partly reflects why experts remain bullish on the industry. By and large, the growth rate for cruise passengers has been hot — beating out other travel sectors between 2009 and 2017, according to a Deloitte study.
Cruises have been canceled in Southeast Asia but analysts have remained upbeat that if the coronavirus is contained, things will blow over.
‘They’ve been excellent’
The World Health Organization says that more than half the coronavirus cases outside China came from the outbreak aboard the Diamond Princess, despite the two-week quarantine.
The couple stayed in isolation on the ship, which was a frustrating experience for many. But the real problem came when they were sent by charter plane to an American quarantine facility in Texas.
While on the plane, they were informed that they would be traveling with people who had tested positive, which angered them. This part of the response has been roundly criticized.
“We felt very vulnerable,” the couple said. “They were separated from us with a sheet of plastic, basically, and they were probably using the same restrooms.”
The couple felt exposed to the virus.
In the quarantine in Texas, they have been tested multiple times a day for signs of the coronavirus while looking to the TV networks for news, though the CDC is a “little bit” in contact, they said.
They noted that this quarantine treatment was very similar to that on the ship, and that they felt comfortable.
The couple said they were well compensated by the cruise line for their trouble, including vouchers for a future cruise.
“They’ve been excellent,” they said.
When asked whether they would use the vouchers, they said “absolutely.”