KIYC: Several people show COVID-19 symptoms after cruise they say they wanted to reschedule
Several tristate area residents are in isolation after showing symptoms of COVID-19 when they came home from a cruise. And they tell News 12 New Jersey's Walt Kane that the only reason they went is because Norwegian Cruise Line wouldn't let them reschedule. That controversial refund policy was the subject of a Kane In Your Corner investigation last week.
Matt and Michelle Viscusi are in isolation as they await word whether they have a cold or something much more serious.
"We have a cough, sore throat, little bit of chest pain," Matt Viscusi says. "We're scheduled to take the coronavirus test. That’s when we can actually find one that’s available."
The Viscusis say their symptoms started last week, while they were aboard the Norwegian Cruise Liner, Bliss. They're not alone.
Nelson Reyes of Ronkonkoma is also in isolation. He too says he developed possible symptoms of COVID-19 aboard the Bliss.
"I do have a mild fever, I do have a cough," Reyes says. "It actually started Sunday morning that we arrived in New York."
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Both the Viscusi and Reyes families say they would have preferred to reschedule their cruises but say Norwegian Cruise Line insisted they would have to forfeit their entire fare. As Kane In Your Corner reported last week, NCL instituted a new "Peace of Mind" refund policy on March 6, but didn't make it effective until March 10, two days after the Bliss departed.
In a letter to passengers aboard the March 8 voyage of the Bliss, Norwegian Cruise Line writes it was "provided information by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that a 2-year-old who traveled aboard the vessel on the March 1, 2020 voyage of the Norwegian Bliss tested positive for COVID-19." The company says "we are aware of no other similar cases" and says it is notifying passengers "in an abundance of caution."
Matt Viscusi says he'd like to know exactly when the cruise line got that CDC notification, noting that policies appeared to get significantly stricter after the first night of the voyage.
"When we went to the buffet the first day the food was turned out, serve yourself," he says. "And the next day you couldn’t even touch a plate or have ketchup; they were serving that to you."
Alan and Sofia Kenney of Old Bridge, New Jersey, chose not to take the cruise, even though they say it cost them thousands of dollars. They contend Norwegian Cruise Line should not have made passengers choose between their money and their families' health.
"I think it was pretty irresponsible," he says.
Kane In Your Corner contacted Norwegian Cruise Line for comment. However, the company copied and pasted a portion of the letter it sent to passengers aboard the March 8 voyage, adding, "This is all the information we have to share at this time."