Canadians say they’re leaving Coral Princess cruise ship docked in Florida

As Canadians departed the COVID-19-stricken Coral Princess cruise ship on Monday for their long journey home, other recently repatriated high-seas travellers coped with the emotional exhaustion of their new normal on dry land.

A day after Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said on Twitter that Canadians on the Coral Princess would be coming home, their long journey with two pit stops in the U.S. was underway.

There were 97 Canadian passengers aboard the ship, which left Santiago, Chile, on March 5 and docked in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Friday.

The Canadian Press communicated with two couples travelling on the ship, who said that passengers had been allowed to leave and were on a bus headed for the Miami airport.

Gary and Sue Lyon said in an email they were on a bus waiting to board a charter flight to Toronto via Columbus and Newark.

“We are all feeling relieved, happy and excited to go home. We will go home and self-isolate for 14 days,” the Lyons said.

“We appreciate all the crew and staff of the Coral Princess have done for us during this very challenging time. We wish them all the best.”

North Vancouver resident Sanford Osler, who was travelling with his wife, Betty Ann, said all passengers were wearing masks and gloves, and that he felt physically healthy.

“Physically, I feel normal … Emotionally, I’m relieved to be off the ship, obviously, and on the way home. Although now we have further uncertainties,” Osler said by telephone from the bus.

Osler said he is getting “mixed signals” about whether he and his wife will have to be quarantined in Toronto for 14 days before moving on to Vancouver.

Champagne tweeted Sunday that those who don’t have COVID-19 symptoms would be able to return home on a charter aircraft Monday.

“Upon arrival they will be screened again and subject to a mandatory 14-day self-isolation,” Champagne wrote.

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