Mother of Richmond woman finally off ship stuck at sea for weeks

Updated: Apr. 3, 2020 at 6:20 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Two Holland America Ships have finally docked after weeks at sea, and over 100 passengers between the two ships are showing flu-like symptoms and at least four people have died.

“You’re sitting on a live petri dish as far as I’m concerned,” Kathy Northrop Parker.

It’s been weeks full of worry for Richmond resident Kathy Northrop Parker since her 85-year-old mother Nancy has been stuck on the Holland America Cruise ship The Zaandam.

“You’re just out there and you don’t know when you’re ever going to get back. The unknown of that was just horrible,” Parker said.

For the first time since March 14, those on board the Zandaam and sister ship The Rotterdam are able to step off the ships at Port Everglades in Florida.

“She was going for fun. My mom loves to travel,” Parker said.

The ship Nancy was on was set to travel to Buenos Aires, Chile and nearby destinations.

Passengers were told they couldn’t leave the ship on March 14th.

Later on March 22nd the passengers were told to quarantine to their rooms.

“When you know there are people who have died on the ship you have a family member on. My mom is 85 and although she is in pretty good health her chances have increased tremendously,” Parker said.

Between the two ships there were over 100 people are showing flu like symptoms.

At least four people have died.

“When I did finally reach her I was like ‘mom is that you are you ok’ and she said’ yeah we are great’ and I was thinking if you only knew!” Parker said.

It took weeks before the ships were able to dock after many ports refused the ships.

Supplies had to be airlifted for those stuck on board.

Finally docked, those who are critically ill will be taken to nearby hospitals.

Those with symptoms will remain on board until they recover.

Those who pass temperature and other health checks will board charter buses and fly to Atlanta.

From Atlanta they will fly back to their homes.

“I’m still very cautious about her getting back. Id on’t think she realizes she’s probably going to be quarantined for a little longer,” Parker said.

Kathy says her mom is not showing any symptoms and is on her way back to Kentucky.

She calls the crew on board the ships ’angels’ and says they treated the guest well. .

Holland America crew members will remain on board but it’s still a long journey ahead for many people who were on these two ships.

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