WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Kelly Edge and her husband Woody had been looking forward to their cruise for months. Kelly, a former designer for HGTV and an annual guest at the Willie Stargell Celebrity Golf Invitational booked the trip with Costa Cruises. She and her husband set sail from Fort Lauderdale bound for Venice, Italy March 5 on board the Costa Luminosa.
It was supposed to be a fun trip.
"It was a retirement gift for my husband who had just retired from American Airlines, so it was a 20 night Fort Lauderdale to Venice on Coasta Cruise Lines,” Edge said.
The first couple days she described as breathtaking.
“March 5 and 6 we were at sea and everything was just like a normal cruise—really wonderful.”
Then the cruise took at unexpected turn.
"When we got to Puerto Rico, Woody and I got off the ship with everybody—it was a beautiful day and I noticed an ambulance was at the ship and I said to Woody ‘Wow, I hope that’s not a coronavirus person.’”
It was a woman and her husband. The woman was showing signs of the virus and was taken off the ship to be tested. The results are pending.
Then the Edges found out a man from Italy who had been on the same ship was taken off in the Cayman islands. He tested positive for the disease. He died.
Kelly says they tried to cancel the trip at the start of the coronavirus scare but were told they wouldn’t get their money back and that all was well.
“That’s what really upsets me,” Edge says. “I’m talking to Costa everyday asking ‘everything’s fine,’ and they are putting me on a ship where they already had to unload somebody in the Cayman Islands and they got turned away at Jamaica, so all of that had happened before we boarded that ship and they would not tell me that.”
Three days in, passengers were told all shows were cancelled but they could still go to the dining rooms. Over the weekend, they received a letter from the captain saying they would now need to stay inside their cabins.
“The first thing that went through my mind is ‘This must be what a person feels like for a day in prison.’ You can’t leave your room. They bring your meals and you can’t leave.”
What makes this more frightening is her husband, Woody, had a fever. He was seen by the ship’s doctor.
“We don’t have any tests available so we did go to the doctor and he was examined and his lungs and the doctor said ‘The only symptom you have is the fever,’ so he gave him Tylenol for two days and the fever went away.”
Still, Edge is afraid. She communicates with about eight passengers she found through Facebook. They’re all convinced they’ve been exposed to the coronavirus.
“There’s a consensus most of us may already have it.”
Kelly says they’re trying to maintain a positive attitude. She does yoga in the room and her husband tells jokes to keep her laughing.
“We are fortunate to have a balcony so we can take a breath of fresh air. We can feel the sun-- we can feel God’s presence. I do a little yoga but we’re only one day into this. This could go on for who knows how long.”
Right now, the Edges and the other passengers on board the Luminosa are sailing through Spain. Their destination is unknown. She’s hoping someone, some country will hear their plea and let them dock.
"It’s not just like being in prison, its being in prison when you know you have the virus on the ship. That is a mental prison as well as a physical prison,” Edge says. “We need any country at the very least let us dock and let us off, load anybody who needs immediate medical attention.”