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Utah couple denied cruise ship boarding despite negative COVID-19 tests, vaccination

Posted at 6:23 PM, Aug 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-22 20:33:54-04

GALVESTON, Texas — A Utah couple’s 44th wedding anniversary celebration ended before it had the chance to get started.

Myra and Brian Gurr decided to commemorate their special day by taking a Caribbean cruise.

Vaccinated against COVID-19, they were told in late July they would not need a negative COVID test to board Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Independence of the Seas.

On August 13, just two days before their cruise was to set sail, the Gurrs received an e-mail from the cruise line indicating they would now need a negative test.

“We just got all this mixed information. It was basically a nightmare after that,” Myra Gurr said.

The night they received the e-mail, the couple took a COVID test at a local pharmacy. They also purchased and administered take-home antigen tests as a backup.

The next day, on August 14, they took a flight to Houston, Texas.

The test results at the pharmacy didn’t come back before the cruise set sail, and security at the port in Galveston, Texas would not accept the take-home test results.

“With the short amount of time, we did everything we possibly could,” Brian Gurr said. “We took the one test at the Walgreen’s, we did the home self-test. In all, we end up with three tests, all of them negative, but the timing didn’t work out.”

On August 15, along with several other passengers who were not allowed to board, Myra and Brian rushed to an urgent care near the port to take a third test. That result also was negative for the virus.

However, when they returned to the dock, they learned the ship closed its doors 15 minutes earlier and they were not allowed to board.

“We got back at 4:30 and they told us they shut the doors at 4:15,” Myra said. “There were at least 20 different people from four different families that were shut out like we were and they just would not.”

Myra and Brian watched the boat leave Galveston. Their luggage was already on board and still has not been returned.

“If we had a day or two more and knowing all the correct information of things, we would probably have been OK,” Brian said.

The next day, the couple found a flight to Utah and returned home to celebrate their anniversary.

They say attempts to reach Royal Caribbean Cruise Line have not yielded any answers.

FOX 13 reached out to the cruise line. When asked for a statement regarding what happened prior to the scheduled boarding, a spokesperson responded in an e-mail, “We’ll take a look.”

Still unsure if they will receive a refund or a future cruise, Brian and Myra hope others won’t have an experience like this.

“It’s kind of travel at your own risk right now,” Myra said. “We thought we had done everything right.”