Utah family arrives home after cruise ship denied at multiple ports due to COVID-19

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A Utah family was aboard a cruise ship in search of a place to dock but denied access to multiple countries due to the coronavirus.

“It didn’t happen all at once. There’s this change and that change, and we counted them as they kept changing ports and changing where we were going,”

Diana Walker Neve

Walker Neve, who was aboard the Westerdam Cruise Ship with her husband and son, said they were only a few days into their cruise when COVID-19 began impacting multiple countries, and all passengers were told the trip would end early due to the outbreak.

“So, it seemed like a long time of being not knowing when we’re gonna get home, all these countries are closing their doors,” Walker Neve said.

She told ABC4 News it was five-country denials later that they were able to dock in Cambodia. And the news of the viruses global spread continued to rise, but Walker Neve said it reported no passenger on the cruise ship is infected.

“It’s always easy to look at hindsight. ‘Well, we shouldn’t have gone into Hong Kong, we shouldn’t have done this, we shouldn’t have done that.’ And it’s like, ‘Nobody knew that,’” Walker Neve said.

Once testing negative multiple times for the respiratory virus, the Neve family was finally able to fly back to Salt Lake City with official documents allowing them to board the aircraft.

“When we got to the plane to get on, they kinda stopped us, but then there were some people from the embassy and some people that talked to us and said, ‘Look, they’re clear. They can fly. They’ve been cleared,’” Walker Neve said. “And they made sure they got us onto the airplane. And that was kinda the way it was everywhere we went.”

While the coronavirus inconvenienced the Neve’s trip, Walker Neve said she’s grateful her family is home safe, recognizing not everyone is as fortunate. “But it’s quite another where all of this is happening,” Walker Neve said. “So, our hearts go out to those.”

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