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Couple quarantined on cruise ship reflects on experience one year later

Michele and Steven Smith from Paradise are reflecting on their experience one year after a cruise ship outbreak turned their vacation upside down.

Posted: Mar 5, 2021 5:43 PM
Updated: Mar 5, 2021 6:11 PM

PARADISE, Calif.- Last March a cruise ship outbreak turned a Paradise couple's vacation upside down. Now they are reflecting on their experience one year later.

Michele and Steven Smith left their home in Paradise on February 21st, 2020, they headed out to their dream vacation to Hawaii onboard The Grand Princess Cruise Ship. The vacation was only supposed to last 14 days, they never imagined they'd be gone for five weeks.

"About 11 days into the cruise they informed us they were turning around," said Steven. 

The coronavirus cut their vacation short, forcing the Smith's and thousands of others to quarantine for weeks. But the Smith's did not let quarantine bring them down, they decided to have some fun and make the best out of the situation.

They even ordered inmate shirts that show the date they embarked on the ship, the date they went into quarantine and the day they were able to return home. After getting off the ship the couple continued in quarantine at the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station. 

"The other inmates see the shirts and it lifts their spirits, everyone is laughing we are just trying to boost the spirts of everyone around us," the couple said in a video they took while in quarantine.

Michele added, "It actually enhanced our marriage being stuck together literally for 21 days."

It will now be a vacation the couple will forever remember.

"The big thing is when it first happened, you never realized what an impactful event the coronavirus would be and here we are fast forward a year later, and we're seeing the impact it's had in the world, not just on our vacation," said Stephen

The couple received a full refund for that cruise and a credit to go towards another cruise which they plan to book in the near future.

The Smith's moved to Paradise shortly after the Camp Fire and opened their business "Ridge Builders" and have since helped many fire survivors rebuild their homes.

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