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St. Charles couple returns home after being stranded for weeks on a cruise ship

The Harrises boarded a cruise ship in early March for what was supposed to be a 34-day cruise through the South Pacific.

ST. LOUIS — Jeff and Tome Harris landed at the St. Louis airport a little after 1 a.m. Saturday to a much different situation than the one they left behind in early March.

"It was like something out of a movie about the apocalypse or something and everybody just disappears," Harris said. "We had to call St. Charles Yellowcab because we couldn't find an airport taxi."

The Harrises boarded a cruise ship in early March for what was supposed to be a 34-day cruise through the South Pacific. However, Harris and the other passengers on board learned just days into their trip that many of the scheduled stops were not open to accepting cruise ships amid fast-growing concerns over the Coronavirus.

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After days of uncertainty about when they would be able to get home, largely due to multiple cities refusing the passengers, the ship was able to come into San Diego over the weekend. 

"Immigration spent 20 seconds with us just checking our passports and making sure our pictures matched," Harris said. "We couldn't go anywhere else, just to the airport."

Harris and his wife were able to get a flight from San Diego to St. Louis, but he said many of the other 850 passengers weren't as lucky. 

"I did get a message that two of them rented a car to drive it from San Diego to Oregon," Harris said. 

In addition to American passengers dealing with flight cancellations, Harris said there were hundreds of Canadian, European and Australian passengers who are battling getting back into their countries.

However, Harris said he and his wife are most concerned for the passengers who are on a different Holland America ship where four people have died and two have tested positive for COVID-19.

"Our hearts go out to those people," Harris said.

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