Dispatches from Norwegian Jewel in the South Pacific
Vicki Shurly's Dispatches from the Norwegian Jewel in the Pacific Ocean | Norwegian Jewel Photo
Feel free to share this post...

Editor’s Note: Here is the latest dispatch from Vicki Shurly, Director of Peninsula Community Library, who is on the Norwegian Jewel cruise ship in the Pacific Ocean with her husband Bob – a dream trip on which they embarked in February before the COVID-19 virus pandemic spread across the globe. The ship has been turned away from several ports, including, it seems, their latest option. Click here for Part 1; click here for Part 2. And read on for the latest installment in Bob and Vicki’s story…

Wandering around last night, fellow passengers started sharing news that Hawaii would not be allowing us to disembark from the ship. A man from Flint stopped us as we were walking on the Promenade Deck. A lady from Germany shared it again in the elevator, and a man from Canada showed us the article in the Toronto Star this morning.

Old Mission Gazette is Reader Supported.
Click Here to Keep the Gazette Going.

That article said that citizens of Honolulu would block the gate if we were allowed off. No announcements have been made by Norwegian Cruise Lines to passengers, and some people are still booking flights from Hawaii home! We were told to have flight arrangements by March 20 and to submit them to Norwegian by March 20. Many of us have refused. We will not book until we are off in a port.

There are people who have maxed out their credit cards on flights home that they had to cancel. We, fortunately, have been able to cancel all flights but the one from Tahiti. We have sent them an email, but have received no response. No one answers the phone at the airlines. Our son will work on it from home.

The biggest issue at the moment is the lack of official communication from the Norwegian cruise ship. They must have the same news we do. People are upset with the lack of timely communication and transparency.

On the other hand, they are taking very good care of us. We have great meals, entertainment and movies, and we can gather in groups. We have toilet paper, too. I never thought that would be an issue in our American lives!

Last night, after we heard all the rumors, we walked the top deck a little despondent. We are safe, but we all really want to be home regardless.

We finally sat down with others and watched the stars. We saw the southern hemisphere side of everything we know from home and the Southern Cross. It was a beautiful night. People were talking softly and calmly, and one man from Australia was reciting poetry.

We are all safe, but home seems a long distance away, in more ways than one.

Editor’s Note: Feel free to leave comments for Vicki and Bob below. Words of encouragement are greatly appreciated.

Bob and Vicki Shurly in the South Pacific Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic | Shurly Photo
Bob and Vicki Shurly in the South Pacific Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic | Shurly Photo

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

Bay View Insurance of Traverse City Michigan


  1. Dear Vicky and Bob,

    We await your arrival on Lindale Drive. I predict your novel (Noval) “the last ship at sea” will be a best seller. A big party at some point…I recommend the beautiful creation of our spectacular library as the location. 😎❤️

    • Vicky and Bob, I’m following your “adventures “, for lack of a better word, enthralled and horrified this is occurring. You’re truly in a safe place, amazingly virus free! That’s the positive thing about it.
      If you do write a book about this, I’ll be in line to buy it@
      Stay safe. Stay healthy. God speed.

  2. I suppose there’s nothing to do but enjoy it, since you have no other choice. It must be somewhat frustrating, though. And what wonderful tales you’ll have to tell your grands!

  3. Gary and Lisa Knudsen here. We are envious and sad at the same time. So glad your trip has been “virus free” and with what you have described as a compassionate group of people. Your travel stories have given us a needed relief from the continual CoVid 19 news. It is an overwhelming worldly situation and the distraction is welcome. We are so glad that there is good to offset your inevitable Angst. Wishing you the best and if there is anything we can do please reach out

  4. What an event! I hope you are journaling your memories. Some day soon we will all be HUGGING again! 💗❤️💜The Allens

  5. Every day I hope to read that you have found a way home. I’m so sorry that is not yet the case. But I am grateful to know you are healthy and well-cared for. Sending prayers and positivity to you. We’ve had a few spectacularly starry nights here on OMP, and I will think of your view of the stars next time the sky clears.

  6. Dear Vicki and Bob: You are sure getting your money’s worth out of that cruise. And developing some great sea legs too. In fact, be careful when they finally let you off the ship, you may fall flat on your face when you reach the dock. In many ways you are lucky. Your crew and fellow passengers are not sick, so you are not exposed to the virus. May be a blessing in disguise. Stay safe, enjoy yourselves and we will eventually see you back on Old Mission Peninsula. Patti wants Bob to save a dance for her, maybe he should practice.

  7. Wow, all the stories you’ll have to tell! This reminds me to be more prepared, beyond my cruise, just in case something like this happens. Keep your head up! We’re rooting for your safe return. Look at it this way, it could be safer where you are than home.

  8. I know it is frustrating but everyone on the ship is healthy. Hang in there. And keep a good diary. Sounds like great experience for a book!

  9. Travel safe Bob & Vicki …Thank you for representing Traverse City & Old Mission Peninsula ….. You will remain in our prayers for a safe return.

    The Bonaccini Family

  10. Maybe you can dock in TC. Oh, wait. No you can’t. The township voted no on cruise ships using the old coal docks. Thanks for sharing your adventure. everything here is closed. You have more to do on your ship. We will all still be here when you get home.

  11. Praying there will be a breakthrough for you soon. At least you have live entertainment and can mingle with each other. Here in Michigan we’re all sequestered in our homes trying to make the toilet paper last. Gas is under $2 per gallon now, but nothing is open. Every day more things are shut down. But we do have lots of books (I’m reading all the Miss Read “Fairacre” series, among other things) and our gas fireplace. Hope to see you soon!

  12. I am a bit jealous…we were leaving the Jewel, as you were coming aboard. We were on the prior 15-day voyage of Australia and New Zealand. We fully enjoyed the Jewel, especially the bar staff at the Martini bar…say hi to Dom…he would have our drinks made before we sat down at the bar. Also, say hi to Carlos, he is the Haven Concierge (seriously, say hi to Dom and Carlos).

    We actually upgraded our room so that if the ship was put into quarantine, we would be more comfortable (check out 10004).

    Think of all the things you are missing here…snow, no restaurants, limited shopping, shortages of toilet paper and you are in a virus-free environment. Also, you got this cruise for free, with a great story, and a discount on a future cruise.

    When you get back, we should get together to share stories and pictures.

    Safe travels back…


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Please enter an e-mail address

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.