A light in the tunnel for Florida couple on coronavirus quarantined Grand Princess cruise ship
A Tallahassee woman is celebrating her birthday off the coast of California aboard the quarantined Grand Princess cruise ship, where a man recently died of coronavirus and others are diagnosed.
Beth Pace is on board with her husband Mark Pace, who's been tweeting updates about his experience on the quarantined ship with about 3,500 people aboard. It's slated to dock later Monday at the Port of Oakland after spending days floating off-shore and receiving the OK from U.S. and California health officials.
"We are a little nervous about it. We knew it was a possibility," Pace told CNN about his apprehension preparing for the San Francisco-to-Hawaii cruise. "We came prepared with two weeks of extra medication and my laptop so that I could work if we were confined."
According to USA TODAY, 21 people aboard the Grand Princess have tested positive for coronavirus, including 19 crew members.
After they've disembarked and followed protocol, they will be sent to military bases for another quarantine of 14 days. Foreign passengers will be returned to their home countries.
Pace, who works at Mainline Information Systems in Tallahassee, told CNN about precautionary measures implemented on the cruise due to the scare: They were instructed to wash their hands and use sanitizer at the buffet before handling dinnerware — and the crew did all the serving.
"And crew handled everything," he said. "We were not allowed to serve ourselves."
He did not respond to a Facebook message from the Democrat, but a few days ago, Pace tweeted a photo of himself in a face mask. He jokingly called it "high fashion on the high seas."
As of Thursday, the captain instructed passengers to stay in their cabins until further notice, CNN reported. Though Pace tweeted a celebratory "woohoo!" after Princess crew allowed passengers on deck for fresh air.
"There is light at the end of this particular tunnel," Pace tweeted with a photo of instructions issued by Princess Cruises for disembarking the ship.
Pace wrote that he peeked outside his cabin window and saw "someone in full hazmat gear" after a few people were convening in the hallway — "a little creepy," he wrote.
After counting down the days to get off the ship, he seemed heartened over a triumphant sight: Some birds and San Francisco Bay.
"Coming closer to the SF bay," Pace tweeted. "I (see) birds that look like tiny penguins floating by.
"When the ship gets near they flap wings like crazy but never get in the air. Just sort of skip over the top of water. Any ideas?"
Reach Nada Hassanein at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @nhassanein_.
This story originally published to tallahassee.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the USA TODAY Network - Florida.