‘My wife is in favour of shredding her passport’: coronavirus cruise ship couple home

PUBLISHED: 07:55 06 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:16 06 April 2020

Norfolk couple Heather and David Haycox. Pic: Courtesy Samantha Haycox.

Norfolk couple Heather and David Haycox. Pic: Courtesy Samantha Haycox.

Samantha Haycox

A couple are grateful to be home after fearing they would never be let off a cruise ship which was infected with coronavirus.

David and Heather Haycox, from Brooke, could not leave their cabin on the Zaandam for over a week after more than a hundred fellow passengers had reported flu-like symptoms and four people had died.

They had started their holiday March 7 from Buenos Aires in Argentina and were due to end their adventure in Chile’s capital Santiago on March 24 but more than a hundred fellow passengers had reported flu-like symptoms and four people had died.

The large ship got turned away from various South American countries because of concerns over coronavirus and was then refused entry to Argentina, Peru, Ecuador and Panama.

The couple got onto another ship - the Rotterdam - at the beginning of last week but there were still fears it would not get through the Panama Canal.

They returned home on the evening of April 4 after flying from Florida to Heathrow after getting a charter flight with 225 other mainly British passengers.

Mr Haycox, 61, said: “It did cross our minds that we wouldn’t be able to get back home. When we got back we were so tired. When I woke up the next morning I had a proper cup of tea. It was lovely to walk around the house and get into our garden. We were relieved to be back in Norfolk.

“My wife is quite in favour of shredding her passport. We won’t go abroad again in a hurry. The world is changing. The closest we might come to a cruise is a boat on the Norfolk Broads.”

MORE: ‘Stay at home’ plea as public sunbathing is banned in coronavirus lockdown

The couple, who have a son and daughter, are well-travelled and it was the third time they had been on a cruise.

Mr Haycox added: “When we left Britain there was no panic buying in supermarkets and Norwich City were still playing. I was upset at missing football games.”

He praised the professionalism of staff on the Holland America Line cruise and described Heathrow Airport as spooky due the lack of planes and passengers.

The retired father-of-two said he and his wife were not displaying any coronavirus symptoms but were self-isolating for 14 days.

He said: “From having experienced quarantine first-hand it demonstrates the vital importance of people keeping their distance. It is critical. I cannot believe some people would be so selfish to put others at risk.”

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