Courtesy of Deb Clark

Deb and Michael Clark eat dinner aboard a Hurtigruten cruise ship traveling from Chile to Antarctica. They are now stranded on the cruise ship after it was prevented from docking upon return to Punta Arenas, Chile due to coronavirus concerns.

When Steven and Carol Ditmer boarded a cruise ship in Auckland, New Zealand, bound for the Pacific Islands, they were expecting the trip of a lifetime. But as the boat moved across the ocean, the circumstances around coronavirus quickly escalated.

The Highlands Ranch couple began their five-week cruise on the Holland America Maasdam on March 1. Ten days later, the World Health Organization declared the virus a global pandemic, and soon their liner wasn’t being welcomed to dock at ports along its journey, Steven said.

After it was clear their voyage would be cut short, the Ditmers booked flights to Denver, first from Hilo, Hawaii, and then from Honolulu. But so far, they have not been allowed to disembark at either port, despite the fact none of the ship’s passengers are suspected of being sick.

“Our ship is moving at this slow speed, and the world and decisions are moving at a much faster speed with all this COVID-19,” Steven Ditmer said by phone.

As many Coloradans practice social distancing cooped up in their homes, some are stranded around the world and doing everything they can to get back to the state.

Brad and Becky Grant of Wheat Ridge were passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship that was prohibited from docking in San Francisco after a passenger from a previous leg died from the respiratory illness COVID-19 and more than 20 tested positive for the disease. Now they jokingly call themselves “inmates” at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, the California military base where they were quarantined and tested for COVID-19, after being allowed to come ashore. (They’re still awaiting test results.)

“Comparably speaking, we have no real reason to complain,” Brad Grant said of the amenities. Meals are delivered to passengers’ apartments on base, their temperatures are taken regularly by medical staff, and they’re permitted to walk throughout the spacious courtyard. The couple even received a bottle of wine and chocolate on the day of their 47th wedding anniversary.

Courtesy of Brad Grant

Brad and Becky Grant celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary while quarantined at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. They were passengers at Grand Princess cruise ship, on which more than 20 people tested positive for coronavirus.

“Having said that,” he said, “it’s actually been quite irritating that Colorado has been slow to respond relative to the other states in terms of getting their citizens home.”

Grand Princess passengers from other states who were quarantined there have left in recent days, Brad Grant said, while he and about 40 other Coloradans wait for the government to intervene. In a letter to legislators, his daughter relayed “laissez faire” protocols in Miramar that risk spreading coronavirus and urged them to take action.

“We aren’t required to gather in groups anymore, but I can go out to a table to pick up various food items that are open for anyone to touch,” he said. “That’s our main motivation for getting home — we’d be way better off in self-quarantine.”

The Colorado Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management expects to receive the residents from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said Strategic Communications Director Micki Trost.

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