SEARCY, Ark. — A married couple from Searcy, Don and Eileen Stair, are among those onboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, which currently docked several miles from the coast of California.
The two have been on the ship for 15 days now, but have only been quarantined for a few days, after finding out several other people on the ship have tested positive for coronovirus.
They haven't been tested for the virus yet, but their spirits are high and they're just glad to be together even if they can't leave their cabin.
"This was a surprise anniversary trip for my wife. She didn't know I was doing it and I went out and booked it and said, 'Here, we are going,'" Don said.
Don and Eileen Stair have vacationed on cruises before, but this one was special, celebrating their 34th wedding anniversary. It's one they will never forget.
"Once we got to Hawaii, we toured the four islands and started home, and about day 12 is when this came up about the possibility of the virus on the ship," Don explained.
The Grand Princess ship had been to Mexico, then docked in San Francisco.
That's when Don and Eileen boarded the ship, not knowing that same ship carried a 70-year-old man with underlying conditions, who died.
Since then, the ship has been sitting off the coast of California, awaiting instructions on when to test the more than 3,000 passengers.
Don and Eileen have been quarantined to their cabin where they are served their meals. So far, 21 people on the ship have tested positive with the virus.
"Well, it's always scary and it's a sad situation. We were concerned for those people and we were hoping for good results, but the fact that 19 of them were crew members may have really helped it from spreading on the ship," Don said.
Don and Eileen said the captain updates the passengers every three hours. They are staying optimistic about situation and are ready to get back in Arkansas.
"We enjoy that in life, too. Having fun, despite the situation. We have another cruise planned in May, so we are not going to slow down," Don said.
Don and Eileen said they have heard the ship plans to dock sometime this weekend. Everyone on the ship will be tested before they are free to go home.