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, Hawaii.
Previous Installments: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3. Read on for Part 4 of their story, and feel free to leave encouraging thoughts and comments for Bob and Vicki in the comments section at the bottom of this story.
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Part 4: We are still headed toward Hawaii, despite varied news reports that say we will not be allowed off the ship. It is imperative that we be allowed at least to dock there, as one of the ship’s propellers stopped working last night, and we are rather limping along. Officially, we were told this morning that there are “technical difficulties,” but somehow word got around the ship like a tsunami – pardon the pun.
Editor’s Note: Norwegian Jewel Propeller Failure, photo below posted on Twitter by Jay Martinez, a passenger onboard the ship, on March 20, 2020.
There was another letter in our stateroom today telling us that the sail will now end the night of March 22 in Honolulu, and that we are responsible once again for booking our own flights home. Still, people are hesitant to make arrangements until they are certain that there will be no last-minute turn-aways again.
Editor’s Note: Norwegian Jewel Letter to Passengers dated March 20, 2020; Posted on Facebook by Jay Martinez, a passenger onboard the ship. Note that the ship has been turned away from ports in French Polynesia, Fiji, Australia, American Samoa (they were allowed to re-fuel and re-stock there), and New Zealand.
Price Gouging from the Airlines
And, too, there is a lot of price gouging going on out there. Flight prices are astronomical. We have all heard that New York is considering releasing criminals from Rikers Island. We are all dumbfounded! We don’t know if that is true or not, but we are all good standing, healthy citizens of many countries, and we are not wanted anywhere.
We all access the internet as we can. It is offered free now, in a room the ship’s crew set up. The lines are long. Some have purchased minutes to use on personal devices, but the service is so slow that you can use them up just waiting. Most of us just want to contact loved ones, make sure they are safe, and let them know that we are still out here.
No Large Groups Allowed
Some people are booking flights, and others have a wait-and-see attitude. We are waiting. Our now dear Australian friends, newly made a few weeks ago, told us that the Austrailians have been gathering as a group to make sure their government knows they are out here. They met again today, but were finally told by staff that they may not gather in such a large group. We find that humorous because we do gather – at the cafe, in restaurants, to see films, and for music programs.
The German lady across from me at another computer told me with a smile that the German government has promised to fly them home if only they can get off the ship. We feel for her, especially because she and her husband have young children. All of the children on the ship seem happy and oblivious to the situation, although older children must know. There are activities for them to keep them busy.
Yesterday, there was an announcement that there would be an immediate meeting for people who were running out of essential medications. Bob and I are fortunate not to need anything, but the line was long! There seems to be a quiet cutback on the amount of food served, as well.
Still, we cannot complain. Many thanks to all of you for your comments, prayers and good wishes. Please know that our hearts are home with you.
Editor’s Note – Conflicting Destination Reports
On a couple of the Facebook groups for families of passengers on board the Norwegian Jewel, here and here, they were carefully watching to see whether another cruise ship, the Maasdam, operated by Holland America, would be allowed to disembark in Honolulu. According to this story in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, eight passengers were allowed to disembark on March 20, 2020 – six residents of Hawaii, along with an injured passenger and her husband.
“I am authorizing the Hawaii residents and the injured passenger to disembark,” Hawaii Gov. David Ige said in a press release. “Allowing the Hawaii residents off the ship means they will avoid unnecessary air travel and reduces their risk of exposure to COVID-19. The woman with a fractured leg needs medical attention and, therefore, must be allowed off the boat.”
At 6:30 a.m. this morning, March 21, 2020, after re-fueling and re-stocking supplies, the Maasdam left Honolulu Harbor. According to VesselFinder.com, the Maasdam is headed to San Diego, with an estimated time of arrival of March 27, 2020, 1 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Norwegian Jewel, the ship on which Bob and Vicki Shurly are passengers, is showing on VesselFinder.com that they will reach Honolulu on March 22, 2020, 4 p.m. While the site does not show any further destinations, Jay Martinez, who is onboard the Norwegian Jewel, posted the screenshot below yesterday that indicates the ship will arrive in Honolulu on March 22, stay through Tuesday, March 24, and then continue on for another six days, with no final destination indicated.
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 like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and magazines like 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 of course, I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my 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 Old Mission Peninsula. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb