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Stranded cruise ship workers arrive back in Canada
VANCOUVER -- After more than a month at sea, isolated to their cabins, dozens of Canadian cruise ship workers have arrived back on home soil.
The group was onboard the Emerald Princess vessel which has been unable to dock for more than a month. Passengers were taken off in March, but the staff were left behind. Among them was Vancouver’s Michelle Joly, who works as a featured soloist.
“At first, it was really awesome because there were no guests and we were allowed to use all the guest amenities. Then, from April first until literally yesterday, we were in self isolation,” She told CTV News Vancouver from her hotel room in Toronto. “We weren't allowed to come out, not even to really walk around the open deck we just had to come out to eat, do laundry, get some drinks if you wanted and then go back to the cabin.”
Global Affairs Canada says 49 Canadian citizens and 5 permanent residents who were crew members on the Emerald Princess were flown from Miami to Toronto Saturday morning. They now have to isolate for 14 days.
Krishna Prasad works as a senior maître d' with Carnival cruise line, running the restaurant division. His wife told CTV News “he’s been gone since September when he started his contract.”
There was a ray of hope last week, when staff thought they may be getting off the ship.
“They would have gotten out on May fifth, last Tuesday, through Nassau, Bahamas, but that was denied by the Bahamian Government,” Leah Prasad said.
Her husband is also in the hotel in Toronto, but is due to fly back to Vancouver Sunday night.
“He’s tired, he’s hungry, he’s very excited though, he’s just feeling overjoyed that he’s back home on Canadian soil and he’ll be home tomorrow night to us,” she said.
The story isn’t over for other stranded Canadians. Global Affairs is tracking 70 cruise ships still at sea in various parts of the world. It’s estimated more than 200 Canadians are among the staff onboard.