Coronavirus: East Bay Mom makes most of being stranded on cruise ship in Asia

Kate Larsen Image
ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Thursday, February 13, 2020
This image is from a video posted by Christina Kerby, an East Bay resident stranded on a cruise ship off the Asian coast amid the coronavirus outbreak.
This image is from a video posted by Christina Kerby, an East Bay resident stranded on a cruise ship off the Asian coast amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The coronavirus has had a major impact on the travel industry, particularly cruise ship operators, which have had to cancel or reroute ships calling on ports in Asia.

But not all the stories of stranded passengers have been negative.

Video of cruise passengers dancing at sea stands in stark contrast to the images of passengers quarantined on another ship, the Diamond Princess in Yokohama, Japan.

RELATED: Fear, anxiety sets in for passengers aboard cruise ship under quarantine

Alameda resident, Christina Kerby, has been tweeting while on a Holland America cruise with her mother in Asia.

Because of coronavirus concerns their ship, the Westerdam, has been turned away port after port while floating around the South China Sea for the past week.

Kerby spoke to ABC7 News by phone Wednesday.

"It's been very minute by minute on the ship," said Kerby. "It's been a positive experience, it's just being at sea. We didn't get to see beautiful countries we were hoping to explore."

RELATED: SF State educator addresses coronavirus xenophobia in the Bay Area

Kerby, who knew about the coronavirus before she joined the cruise, says they disembarked for eight hours in Taiwan. Other than that, she's been staying busy on the ship with yoga and spin classes. She even took a class on towel folding.

"The reason I've been sharing positive updates on Twitter is that I don't want the world to think we're sitting sad, sequestered on this ship. We're going about our lives and making the best of it."

"It's not the vacation I expected, but a life-changing experience nevertheless," said Kerby, who explained that the cruise ship staff have been very helpful and that they have had health screenings on board the ship.

But not all the cruise ship stories coming out of Asia are as positive, and that news has affected trip reservations.

"It's been a complete mess with people with questions," said Lisa Theodoratus, who owns The Cruise Experience, a travel agency in Sausalito.

RELATED: Bay Area mom and daughter among the 195 cleared from quarantine

"Will cruises end up going where they're supposed to, will they be pulled into different ports, once you're on board will you actually be able to get off, and of course will you be able to get back into the United States if you've been in Asia?"

60% of Theodoratus' business is based on booking cruises, so while she has concerns about her bottom line, she does say her clients have been buying one thing in particular.

"They are all buying insurance policies, and I've had several of those this week where they passed on it when they originally did their deposit, and now they're purchasing insurance."

Randy Quezada, with the Port of San Francisco, says their businesses has not been affected by the coronavirus, since their international cruises go to and from Mexico and Canada.

In fact, Quezada says they have more cruise ships booked this year than in years past. In 2019, the Port of San Francisco had 85 cruise calls and in 2020, they are booked for 116 cruise calls.

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