Topekans stuck on cruise ship speak out about their experience after finally returning home

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — After almost a month at sea, Sharrell Drane and Steve Henry from Topeka finally arrived back home Friday night. What was supposed to be a 17-day cruise turned into something neither of them expected.

It was going to be the trip of a lifetime for Drane, Henry and a group of their friends from out of state.

“We had a day or two in Buenos Aires, set sail and went to Montevideo, Uruguay, off to the Falkland Islands where we visited Stanley and the penguins,” said Drane.

The South American adventure was something Henry, a retired teacher, had really been looking forward to.

“We had planned this trip for well over a year, including putting aside my money for it,” said Henry. “But, it didn’t quite turn out the way we thought it might.”

When they embarked on their journey at the beginning of March, the U.S. only had around 160 cases. But, that quickly changed.

Henry said about a week into the trip is when the issues began. Hundreds of people on the ship had become ill with flu-like symptoms, which caused people on board to have to go into isolation.

“We were in our rooms,” said Drane. “Three meals a day were brought. Knock on the door, we’d slide the tray in, eat our meal and push it back out. We had to wear a mask whenever we opened that door.”

Because of the amount sick people on board, the ship was being turned away from one dock after another.

“That was when we began to feel the anxiety of being away from the U.S.A,” said Drane.

Eventually, the ship was able to dock in Florida on Thursday. On Friday, Drane and Henry were finally able to come home.

“Returning home, even though I knew there would be problems here and I knew that it wouldn’t be rosy here either, it is home and we were awfully glad to go,” said Henry.

“It’s emotional,” said Drane. “It really is. You know, we’re just so grateful to be back”

Drane and Henry haven’t shown any symptoms so far, but are self-isolating as a precaution.

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