SWFL woman travels home after cruise ship initially denied entry to port due to coronavirus

Multiple Americans on cruise ships have been quarantined due to the coronavirus. Although she wasn’t quarantined, a Southwest Florida woman had an extended stay at sea for almost two weeks after a fellow passenger was diagnosed with coronavirus. It took multiple attempts before the ship was allowed to enter a port and let passengers go home.

Fortunately for Holley Rauen, who lives in Fort Myers, she was able to travel home and tested negative for coronavirus after she says a fellow passenger on the MS Westerdam tested positive recently.

It was an experience Rauen thought would never end and one she’ll never forget.

Rauen finally was able to make her way home to Fort Myers after 30 days in Southeast Asia.

“Our first two weeks were really fine,” she said. “The second part of the cruise, that’s when we started to get a bad feeling.”

A bad feeling because of the coronavirus. A passenger on Rauen’s cruise tested positive. So what started out as a dream vacation took a dramatic turn for the worse.

“I never felt like a prisoner, I just felt the emotional feelings that I felt and many others felt, was feeling unwanted,” she said.

Holley Rauen was stuck on her cruise ship when it was quarantined due to a passenger contracting the coronavirus. (Provided to WINK News)

Rauen says six countries denied the cruise ship she was traveling on entry to port due to coronavirus. Eventually, Cambodia allowed Rauen and 600 fellow passengers into the country where doctors tested and swabbed them for the virus.

“It was totally bizarre. I mean, people came in their little hazmat suits, walking down,” Rauen said.

As for the results?

“None of us are positive for the coronavirus and that we will begin to fly out of here as of today,” she said.

Rauen said she’s glad to be on her way home and she’s grateful her dream had a happy ending.

“It’s been a tremendous experience in building global friendships and crossing all kinds of barriers,” she said.

She left Cambodia around 10 a.m. our time and is expected to land in Tokyo, connect in Houston, Texas and then eventually arrive home sometime Thursday.

Reporter:Nicole Gabe
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