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SWFL couple watches coronavirus pandemic while on cruise for months

A Southwest Florida woman just returned to her home in Maryland from a months-long cruise with her husband after they experienced the unfolding of the health crisis due to the coronavrius.

Janet Schill hopped on a cruise back in January prior to the pandemic spread of COVID-19, and she finally returned home Friday.

We spoke to Schill Saturday to learn about her experience over the past few months.

“I was going to see the world and then the world closed,” Schill told WINK News.

It was a once–in-a-lifetime opportunity cut short.

“I was just so excited. I really wanted to see the pyramids,” Schill said. “There were things I thought I was never going to be able to do in my lifetime, and I was getting a chance to do them. And, then, it just all changed.”

Schill and her husband boarded a Viking cruise in Los Angeles in early January, planning to see the world in 119 days.

The first few months went as scheduled.

“This is my calendar. See all the changes?” Schill said. “I had it all mapped out for the four months we were going to be gone, and, every day, there was a new change.”

But, as the coronavirus began to spread, the couple’s trip came to an end.

“It was just like a normal cruise until you turned the news on,”” Schill said. “You just saw the rest of the world was crazy, and, everytime we got to a port, you just couldn’t go anywhere.”

In some countries, the Schills were greeted with armed guards, making sure they didn’t step off.

“We toured Bali for two days, got back on the ship, and that was the end,” Schill said.

The Schills were stuck on the cruise for days. Eventually, they made it to Dubai to start their journey back to the U.S. by plane.

“We were given masks, sanitizer and wet wipes to take with us on the journey,” Schill said.

Just a few days ago, the Schills landed in New Jersey. Instead of coming back to Florida, they rented a car and drove to their other home in Maryland.

The Schills are not experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, but they said they were instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days. Schill says she and her husband will continue to follow guidelines from the CDC until restrictions lift again.

“It just so eerie. It’s like a bomb has dropped or something,” Schill said. “People don’t go out. Neighbors are staying far away from each other. It’s just really sad.”

Reporter:Andryanna Sheppard
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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