CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - For one Lowcountry couple, what was supposed to be their dream cruise turned into a nightmare because of the coronavirus pandemic.
After being stuck on their ship in Dubai for four days, they are finally coming home.
Pat and David Hartley’s cruise to the South Pacific was supposed to last until May 2.
“It was supposed to be a 119 day world wonders cruise,” Pat Hartley said from her ship in Dubai.
The Hartleys and 87 others passengers who remained on a Viking Cruise ship had been in limbo for four days in Dubai in the Arab Emirates.The Hartleys’ vacation began on Jan. 4.
When the cruise launched, they visited several islands.
Then they found out about the coronavirus.
“That’s when the virus blew up in China and we knew all of our China stuff would be stopped,” Hartley said.
Hartley says the cruise was ordered to be cut short and Viking Cruise Line was told to make arrangements to get the Hartleys and the other passengers home.
Then another problem cropped up.
Hartley says the ship was denied permission to dock at just about every port.
Four days ago, officials in Dubai allowed the ship to dock there until arrangements were made for the passengers to be flown home.
Hartley says Dubai wouldn’t allow a plane from Madrid, Spain to come get them.
“One hand is not talking to the other. You hear about the president sending a plane to Honduras for Americans and we wonder now who’s gonna come get us?” she asked.
On Wednesday, the Hartley’s found out they are finally heading home.
They learned a plane from Madrid was coming to get them. They hope to back in Charleston on Thursday night.
We checked with the offices of Senators Lindsay Graham and Congressman Joe Cunningham.
A spokesman in Graham’s office told us they are working to get home more than a dozen Americans who are stuck in countries overseas.