Transcript for What’s next for the cruise industry? Passengers discuss how COVID-19 impacted them
I am angry. I'm angry. We could have died. Reporter: Marleen and Fred feel betrayed. I paid for two weeks of pleasure, not four weeks of misery. Reporter: The New York couple says it's time for a reckoning with the cruise ship industry. The first two weeks of our cruise was -- Great. It really was the first vacation. And then it's almost as if it was all taken away. It's like when people say what happened, and you go, March didn't exist. Reporter: The cantrells are suing celebrity cruises, owned by royal caribbean, as part of a proposed class action lawsuit, just hundreds of those passengers to get infected during the pandemic. I just want them to never allow something like this to happen again. As the captain kept saying to us, his job is to keep us happy and healthy. Well, guess what? They didn't. Reporter: Also still recovering from a cruise turned nightmare, John and Melanie. The retired couple was on the "Diamond princess," the very first cruise ship known to be affected by covid-19. I feel like part of my life was stolen, but I'm alive, and I'm well. My desire to keep traveling is still there, and I feel safe. Reporter: For now, those ocean liners remain docked after becoming an early warning sign, a microcosm of what would happen around the world. Now the plan to reinvent themselves and get back on the water. I think would be a travesty to not cruise again. We're going to be out cruising and enjoying life. Reporter: Are you ready to get back on a cruise ship? No. I don't trust them. They lied to me. They out-and-out lied to me. Reporter: For the big three cruise lines, carnival, royal caribbean and Norwegian, the date to relaunch their fleets remains uncertain. Disney is also a part of the cruise industry. Its ships remain idle as well. The cruise industry has not seen anything like this before, not from a financial perspective, and not from any other kind of perspective. Reporter: How often do you go on cruises? Once a year for the last how long? 20, 25 years. Reporter: So you love cruisin'. Love cruises. Love cruising. No question. Reporter: When Fred and Marleen left New York back in late February there weren't too many cases of covid-19 in America, although the cruise line prohibited people who'd recently been in heavily-infected countries like China. We called celebrity, and they said the cruise is going, and by the way, you're not getting any money back if you don't go, and it wasn't cheap. If there had been a warning from the U.S. Don't go. We wouldn't have gone. Reporter: They flew to south America to set sail on a two-week adventure on the celebrity cruise ship, eclipse. I wanted to see the penguins. I wanted to get as close to Antarctica as we could before it started melting. Reporter: Spoken like a true science teacher. It was my dream. Reporter: The trip seemed to go without a hitch even as covid-19 cases suddenly explode back home. Two days before the cruise was supposed to end, the CDC issued its no-sail order, effectively shutting down future cruises. But for the ships already out at sea, confusion and chaos. So now you're approaching Chile. Right. Reporter: You are expecting to get off. Right. Reporter: And what happened? The captain comes on, and I said, well, this can't be good. He said we have a problem. They're not letting us dock. We don't know what's going on. He literally said we are going in circles. Reporter: After four days of uncertainty, the ship starts heading for San Diego. But imagine, dining rooms, casino, shops, buffet. Pool. Open! Come on down! Nobody is staying socially distant. No. Reporter: The cantrells are assured constantly in P.A. Announcements and written letters from the captain that everything is okay. And all guests on board remain healthy and happy. Reporter: The only real sign of trouble came when the ship docked. An ambulance was waiting to take away a sick passenger. The cantrells flew home. They were ready to leave the whole thing behind until two days later. We got an e-mail from celebrity. Please be advised that a passenger has now tested positive that was on board the ship. Reporter: Within a couple days, he realizes the minor cough he had was getting worse along with fever and fatigue. The er doc said how long have you been on ship? 30 days. No doubt you're going to be infected. Reporter: Do you believe the cruise line did everything they could to keep you snaef. No, they should have quarantined us in the cabins. Reporter: That is what happened for this couple who drew worldwide attention. We first met them in early February when the ship was quarantined in Japan. I want to show you around. Measured it out because I had nothing else to do. It was eight feet by 15 feet. That includes the bathroom and everything. Reporter: Eventually, John started showing symptoms. His fever is now 103 again. Reporter: John tested positive and had to be evacuated to a Japanese hospital. After 26 days on board, Melanie was evacuated back to the united States. She tested positive for the virus. It wasn't until the beginning of March, that the pair finally got the good news. Honey, we're going home! I love you. We just held on tight, we couldn't let each other go for a while. Reporter: They were lucky. The "Diamond princess" had more than 700 confirmed cases and at least 14 people died. When we first came back, I got quite a few e-mails and phone calls that wanted me to participate in a class action lawsuit. We didn't think it applied to us on our cruise ship, because they were dealing with it the first time. I think that if we were on subsequent cruise ships and they still continued to do the same thing over and over again, then of course they're negligent. And we'll either give princess the benefit of the doubt, as it relates to the "Diamond princess" because it was the first, but for every ship that had a problem after that, it became more and more clear. Reporter: He is the cantrells' attorney. He said the cruise lines had enough information to make decisions to protect passengers and instead did the opposite. No quarantine. No masks. They affirmatively took steps so that the cantrells and all the other passengers let their guard down. Saying there were no cases on the ship. So they took all these steps to make the cantrells less safe. Reporter: Celebrity cruises did not respond for comment on the cantrells' lawsuit. I think the whole world was caught unprepared. Reporter: The agency say it is was blindsided just like everyone else during the early days of the pandemic. I stand by all the information that was coming at us, and all the uncertainty that was affecting, absolutely everyone, that we did the right thing by suspending our operations on March 13th, and I believe we're still the only segment of travel and tourism globally that shut down across the board. Reporter: Now companies are being forced into re-imagining the new post covid cruise experience. You can expect to see protocols that specifically address mask wearing, social distancing and the other aspects of the pandemic that we're all hearing and reading about every day. There are no more loyal travelers than cruisers. Cruisers have their favorite line, their favorite ship. And those passengers are incredibly valuable to the cruise lines in getting them back on board, it is very important. Reporter: The cantrells and herrings agree they would love to get back on board a cruise ship when it's safe. From my perspective, they can't reopen the cruise lines at all and make it work. Not until there's a vaccine. Reporter: Let's say there's a vaccine, you think you're ever getting on a cruise again? I say yes. I think I would. I love to cruise. Traveling to us is the spice of life. And the fact that we've had the virus, I've been through the worst of it, and I'm still willing to go out and enjoy life and travel and see this beautiful world.
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