By Makenzie O'Keefe

(CBS4) – Two people from Colorado are among thousands of passengers aboard a cruise ship that are waiting to make it back to land. At least 21 people on board the Grand Princess have tested positive for coronavirus, and the ship is being held about 25 miles off the coast of California until it is cleared to dock.

(credit: CBS)

Tom Gray of Denver and his sister-in-law Sherri Pe’a of Aurora said their cruise to Hawaii took an unexpected turn. On Thursday, they were told the ship operated by Princess Cruiseswas essentially shut down and passengers needed to stay in their rooms because of concerns over the virus.

“We were then asked to be confined to our rooms,” Pe’a said. “So we’ve been confined to our room for four days now.”

Last week, a National Guard helicopter dropped testing kits on board of the ship. Pe’a and Gray said on Sunday that passengers with prescriptions who did not pack for a prolonged stay had necessary medicines delivered as well. The two said they are patiently waiting to see if the ship will dock on Monday.

“The captain gives us information updates every four hours,” Pe’a said. “Or as he can get information.”

A woman gestures as other people look on from aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, operated by Princess Cruises, as it maintains a holding pattern about 25 miles off the coast of San Francisco, California on March 8, 2020. California prepared to disembark passengers from a virus-hit cruise ship as officials played down any risk to local communities. The Grand Princess, which has 21 novel coronavirus infections among the 3,500 people on board, is set to dock in Oakland Monday after four days held off the coast of nearby San Francisco.

A woman gestures as other people look on from aboard the Grand Princess as it maintains a holding pattern off the coast of San Francisco on Sunday. (credit: JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Once passengers are able to get off the ship, they will be sent to a military base in California, Texas or Georgia for health screenings and a 14 day quarantine.

“We don’t know what is going to happen, we’ll just wait and see,” Gray said. “We have nothing but time.”

Gray told CBS4 the cruise line provided passengers with a sheet that outlines counseling services, and tips on how to stay busy while confined to a cruise ship cabin.

“We’ve done a picture puzzle, cribbage, drank a lot of wine, movies,” the two laughed. “Yeah we just keep ordering more wine and they just keep bringing it.”

The two are patiently passing time, while they wait for good news.

“We both miss our family and we really want to go home,” Pe’a said. “But until that day we can sit here and fret about it and get upset, or we can sit here and say we’re just going to make the best of it, do what we can do. And that all you can do.”

The Grand Princess ship is expected to dock in Oakland on Monday.

Makenzie O'Keefe


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