From cruise to quarantine: one couple's journey in a pandemic

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Lolita and her husband of 40 years set out for a 29-day cruise, and the word “quarantine” was certainly not on their minds. It came as a huge surprise when they found themselves caught in the epicentre of a Coronavirus outbreak onboard the Diamond Princess, but as they would later tell family, “quarantine has not been bad at all.”

Lolita and her husband of 40 yearsAfter a positive Coronavirus case in a passenger on the cruise ship was confirmed, the couple began a 14-day quarantine aboard the Diamond Princess Cruise ship off the coast of Yokohama, Japan. As more passengers fell ill, they became concerned for their health. For the last few days on the ship, Lolita and her husband remained in their room, trying to stay healthy and deciding if they would continue onto their four-month trip around Europe. In the end, they opted for cancelling. 

When the news broke that Canada would be bringing citizens and permanent residents from the ship back to Canada, Lolita and her husband were very grateful for the chance to come home, even though it meant another 14-day quarantine.

While in quarantine in Cornwall, Ontario, the Red Cross helped to make their stay stress-free and full of laughter. “The Red Cross has been amazing. The staff were so friendly. There was a lot more freedom here so we could go out and talk to people and see the sun shining,” Lolita said.

Lolita would often leave her room to visit with volunteers who she got to know rather well after the many conversations they had over their two-week stay in Cornwall. The Red Cross was able to provide the couple with items to make their stay as comfortable as possible, including batteries for Lolita’s laptop mouse, snacks, blankets and coffee. Lolita was most pleased with the kettle and mug she was able to get to enjoy her coffee and tea each day. Like many others in quarantine, the little things in life, like getting a daily coffee and being able to talk with someone, became big comforts.

One of the couple’s friends, who was preparing to go on a cruise, had read about the good treatment in Cornwall and reached out for advice. Lolita told her: “If you have to be in quarantine, you would be lucky to be in quarantine and taken care of by the Red Cross.”

Lolita had zero complaints about her time in Cornwall. She has said that she had no stress about a job or children back home, was fed three balanced meals a day, laughed a lot, and could socialize as she pleased. Her sentiments were, “you can’t change it so you might as well enjoy it. There’s always a silver lining.”

Although Lolita and her husband made the best of an unusual situation, she told the Red Cross that she was looking forward to being back in her home so she could enjoy her hot tub and fireplace, as well as finally get her hair cut.
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