GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A young West Michigan woman is desperate to come home after being quarantined on a cruise ship for more than a month because of COVID-19.
Since October, 20-year-old Glory Wesseldyk of Kalamazoo has been working as a dancer on the Regal Princess Cruise ship.
Her contract recently ended, but the crew’s quarantine on the ship has continued.
“We’ve just been floating around the Bahamas for the past 40 some days,” Glory said. “I think the last time I touched land was March 9.”
Glory said the ship docks in Ft. Lauderdale on Monday, but they’ve been told even the American citizens on board won’t be allowed to disembark.
By Monday evening, the ship will be headed to England, taking the European crew members back home, Glory said.
“So, if I don’t get off (in Ft. Lauderdale) then I’ll be sailing to England, and then I won’t be able to fly back to the states,” Glory said.
According to Glory, shore-side authorities in the U.S. are concerned about crew members getting off the ship due to the potential spread of COVID-19.
While she understands the precaution, she said their ship hasn’t had passengers on board or any exposure to the outside world in more than a month.
“We’ve been quarantined for over 30 or 40 plus days, so I have no worries that anyone is sick,” Glory said. “We have not had any cases of COVID-19 at all. We’re one of the healthiest ships out there.”
As Glory sits at sea, her parents have hit the road to Florida, determined to bring their daughter home before it’s too late.
“It’s hard for her to now see that her friends on the ship from other countries are getting a plan to go home. Yet as an American citizen, she is literally going to be in her home country on Monday and being told she can’t get off,” said Glory’s mom, Brooke Wesseldyk.
For days, Glory’s parents have tried contacting various elected officials and government agencies for help.
The U.S. Department of State reached out to Glory Saturday evening by email, letting her know they’re aware of her situation.
“It is up to the local authorities in the U.S. to determine the debarkation procedures, including periods of quarantine, for when a ship arrives at port,” the email said in part.
After reading the email, Glory’s parents now plan to make their plea to local authorities in Ft. Lauderdale.
“How would you feel if your 20-year-old daughter was gone from home since October and she just wants to be home?” Brooke said. “Of course, she’s safe where she is right now, but it’s a scary situation. There’s so much uncertainty in the world, and she just wants to be home.”
Glory and her family are thankful to the captain of the Regal Princess, the ship’s entertainment director and everyone with the cruise line for being so accommodating and supporting during this difficult time.
Below is the entire email sent to Glory from the U.S. Department of State:
The State Department is aware that U.S. citizens are having trouble disembarking cruise ships or experiencing other travel difficulties during their cruise due to the global outbreak of COVID-19. We are tracking the Regal Princess closely and coordinating with relevant authorities to facilitate its safe disembarkation and U.S. passengers and crew’s repatriation as quickly as possible.
The cruise line has ultimate responsibility for the health, safety, and security of its passengers and crew as well as its route and final destination. During these unusual times, scheduled ports may be unavailable to receive ships. The State Department is working with the cruise lines, foreign governments, and other U.S. government agencies to help resolve docking and travel issues for U.S. citizens.
It is up to the local authorities in the U.S. to determine debarkation procedures, including periods of quarantine, for when a ship arrives in port.
U.S. citizens who disembark a ship in a foreign country and are experiencing travel difficulties should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate and register in STEP. U.S. embassies abroad have the lead on assisting U.S. citizens with onward travel.
Please be assured that our officers are doing everything possible to assist U.S. citizens affected. We ask for your patience as we are experiencing a high volume of inquiries.
Overseas Citizens Services
Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State