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Possible coronavirus on cruise ship causes huge problems for Utah couple

(Robert and Susan Anderson, outside of the Costa Luminosa ship they boarded. Credit: Terry Anderson)

CEDAR HILLS — Their family says a Utah couple traveling through the Atlantic Ocean via cruise ship aren’t sure when they will get to come home, in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

For a while, family members worried Robert and Susan Anderson of Cedar Hills could become stranded in Italy.

The Andersons planned their trip on the Cosa Luminosa a long time ago.  Family members say they considered cancelling the trip because of the high number of coronavirus cases in Italy.  However, they were reportedly reassured that their stop in that country was taken off the itinerary.

Their son, Terry Anderson, says the first port was Puerto Rico.

(The Andersons at port in Puerto Rico. Credit: Terry Anderson)

“They let everybody off the ship,” Anderson said.  “They found out later that there was a patient they were concerned about that they took off of the ship to get tested for COVID-19.”

That passenger reportedly needed to be hospitalized.  Anderson says it wasn’t until after the ship left that the rest of the passengers were told there was a potential problem.

“My dad was disappointed because he felt like had he been given some information that there was somebody on the ship, they would have gotten off in Puerto Rico and headed home,” he said.

Instead of being able to come home, Anderson says his parents were told they’d be going to the one country they didn’t want to visit, Italy.

Costa Cruises issued an initial statement saying the passengers currently on their ships will dock in Italy, then be allowed to return home.  However, since then, Anderson says his father was told non-Italian passengers would be taken to Marseilles, France.  This came as a massive relief for Anderson, who wasn’t sure if anyone would be able to get them out of Italy.

“If you look at the travel bans, how do you get out?  All the public transportation in Italy has been shut down,” he said.

Things are not as bleak for the Andersons as they were before.  If they were taken to Savona, Italy, they would have been essentially stranded since they don’t know anyone there.  Their new plan is to fly back to the states after they disembark, but there are only 13 American airports taking U.S. citizens coming back from Europe.

Costa Cruises will screen all passengers getting on their ships, and anyone with a temperature of 99.5 F (37.5 C) or higher will not be allowed to board.


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