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Utah family reflects on one year since 'COVID-19 Cruise'

Posted at 10:27 PM, Mar 10, 2021

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah — A Utah family is reflecting one year after being stuck on a cruise ship with an outbreak of COVID-19.

On February 21, 2020, Monica Achter and her parents boarded the Grand Princess for a journey from San Francisco to Hawaii.

On their way back, they received a note that would send their journey on a strange turn.

“Two days before we were supposed to get to Ensenada, we got the letter on March 4th saying there was possible COVID on the ship,” Achter said. “Everybody on the ship just got quiet and somber. You just wondered what was going on.”

The boat made its way to San Francisco where it floated in the waters off San Francisco for days.

Read: 3 Utah residents sue Disney Cruise Line, claim they caught COVID-19 on ship

On board and in quarantine, Monica and her parents tried to make the most of the difficult situation, but there were concerns about her mother’s supply of medicine.

“I knew that I needed that insulin and I had rationed it out,” said Lorene Richards, Monica’s mother.

After more than a week, Monica and her family were allowed to return home. Life was anything but normal when they got back.

“I thought I’d be in quarantine two weeks and life would be normal again. We’d go out and do all our stuff,” Achter said. “It wasn’t anything near that.”

Read: March 11, 2020: After the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the world came to a screeching halt

As cruise ships remain anchored to their docks, Monica hopes the cruise industry has learned its lesson.

“The communication was a problem and then getting the medications was a problem,” she said.

She believes the captain and crew did the best job they could under circumstances that no one had dealt with before.

When it’s safe, she and her family hope to sail again to make memories the COVID cruise took away.

“I would like to get back on the cruise because I need some closure,” Achter said.

Read: Health departments "surprised" by Gov. Cox April 1 vaccine announcement

Monica and her parents say they relied on their faith to keep them safe.

More than one hundred passengers tested positive for the virus on board the ship. Monica and her parents did not get sick.