Central Floridians struggle to return home after trips overseas

Cruise ships alter course, airports shut down, travelers say

ORLANDO, Fla. – International restrictions have limited flights and cruise ships from returning to parts of the United States, leaving some stranded on their trip with no end in sight.

Like a postcard brought to life, the views from Antarctica are unforgettable for Winter Park resident Jeff Noonan. But Noonan has traded the call of the wild for the beep of a thermometer.

Noonan is one of more than a dozen Americans aboard a 21-day cruise with that was supposed to end in Argentina on Saturday after stops in the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island and Antarctica.

Instead, Noonan told News 6 the crew informed passengers on March 15 that they would be altering course, and after a series of failed attempts to dock, they're stuck on their cruise ship docked in Uruguay, the only port that would take their ship.

As of March 25th at 2 p.m., Uruguay has 189 positive cases for coronavirus.

[Timeline: The spread of coronavirus in Florida]

"I'm on the roof deck but as you can see, there's nobody here," he told News 6 over video chat. "Your option is to be in your room where they deliver food as room service, or you can be on the deck but not near people."

Right now, Noonan told News 6 passengers are unable to get off the ship, but he said he is waiting for a flight he's been told he'll get on later in the day.

"Nobody knows what's going on," he said "It's maddening."

The situation is just as worrisome for Karen Fattorosi, Michael Collins, Sandy Collins and John Jackson. The four Ocala residents flew down to Peru on March 12th and were supposed to return on March 20th. Instead, the four are quarantined in a hotel in Cusco, located in southern Peru, and are only allowed to go outside to get food and medication.

"You can say we're held hostage," she said. "There's a huge police presence outside and we do get hassled by them a little, sometimes more than a little."

As of 2 p.m. on March 25th, Peru had 416 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

"We're overdue to go home," Fattorosi said.

The U.S. Embassy in Peru announced they have negotiated with the Peruvian government for flights to take off from Cusco and Lima heading to Miami.

[CORONAVIRUS BRIEFING: Daily ClickOrlando.com newsletter delivered to your inbox]

About the Author: