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Cruise With Utahns On Board Unable To Dock Due To Coronavirus Fears

BOUNTIFUL, Utah – A Utah couple stranded on a Holland American cruise said multiple countries have refused to let the ship dock at their ports due to fears over the coronavirus.

Take a look around the Gulbrandsen’s Bountiful home and you can tell they love to travel.

“They travel a lot,” said their daughter, Kim Heaton. “My mom is passionate about travel and my dad is passionate about keeping her happy.”

It’s worked all these years for Steve and June Gulbrandsen.

“They cruise at least twice a year,” Heaton said.

However, for as many times as Heaton has spoken with them during their travels, right now, she was concerned about how they sound on their latest cruise.

“I think they’re just worried they haven’t been on land for 12 days,” she said.

The ship her parents are on, Holland American’s Westerdam, hasn’t been allowed to dock at any port cities in the Pacific.

Since the cruise began in Hong Kong, global concerns about the coronavirus have developed.

Even though the Gulbrandsens said no one on board has any signs of the coronavirus, many of those cities are worried someone on board could be carrying it.

“The issue for us right now is that we are stranded in the ocean and no one within thousands of miles, at least as of right now, will take us on their shore,” said Steve Gulbrandsen during a phone interview from his cruise ship room with KSL. “Many of us are starting to run out of vital medicines, including my wife. Plus, it’s just a very disconcerting feeling to know that we don’t have access to medical care, in case the need should arise.”

The cruise was supposed to end in Shanghai this Saturday, but Shanghai won’t let them dock.

And so far, neither will other nearby cities.

“They then changed the destination to Tokyo, then Tokyo denied it,” Gulbrandsen said. “Then they started moving towards Guam, and Guam denied us. Then they said they had a port in Thailand. We went almost all the way to Thailand and apparently, Thailand has said in the press that they’re not going to let us in.”

However, if the ship can’t port by Saturday, he’s worried about medications for those on board who need it.

Gulbrandsen also said Holland America has issued them a refund for the cruise and gave passengers credit for a future cruise.

“The crew and staff have been wonderful and doing the best they can, but as I said, this could turn into a humanitarian crisis with the lack of important medicines and also the lack of medical care,” he said. “Also, it’s just a frightening feeling to be floating around in the ocean and know that you can’t get on land.”