Some Canadians stuck abroad feel safer where they are

WatchCanadians around the world are scrambling trying to come back as flights get cancelled, borders close and airlines pause operations. But not every Canadian travelling abroad feels unsafe.

It was supposed to be a two-week-long cruise, but it’s turned into a month-long ordeal for some Central Saanich residents.

Anne Louise McFarland and her partner, Marc Tardif, are aboard the Celebrity Eclipse, a cruise ship that was supposed to dock in Chile on March 15 but didn’t because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even though there’s nobody sick on board, everyone’s fine, they wouldn’t budge,” said McFarland. “Chile knew we were there, they closed the port. So we couldn’t get in.”

The Celebrity Eclipse is expected to dock in San Diego at the end of the month and the cruise line is organizing flights for all of their passengers.

But in the meantime, McFarland notes, the ship is the safest place to be.

“We just watched things get worse and worse as time went on but the cruise is actually, we’re in the safest place possible at the moment because everyone is healthy on board, and we’re still allowed to wander around,” she explained.

Victoria resident Chris Foord feels the same way about his situation. He and his wife are stuck on Roatán island in Honduras.

“We stand a much greater chance of contracting the virus either in our travels back to British Columbia or once we get home than we actually would have by staying here for the next few weeks,” he said. “We feel very safe here right now and it’s very comforting to know there are no cases [on Roatán island].”

Regardless, Foord said he is cutting his vacation short.

“With everything closing down and airlines starting to announce they were going to cease operations, all of a sudden you have to say, listen, we better try and book something out of here soon or we could be down here for the next three or four months if things got really bad,” he said, noting flights out of Honduras were all cancelled last week, with the country on lockdown.

While flights out of Honduras have resumed, Foord said, incoming planes are not allowed to have any passengers on board.

The journey home, however, may not be so straightforward.

Foord said he has to fly to Houston, to Vancouver, to Victoria, and with so many different airlines and destinations involved, anything can happen.

“The whole thing could fall apart,” Foord noted. “If something else transpires and travel plans change or something causes the airports to be shut or United decides they’re not going to fly — who knows.”

Jasmine BalaJasmine Bala

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