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Norwegian Jewel cruise ship docks, other locals still stuck abroad
KITCHENER -- A Waterloo Region couple and 2,500 other cruise ship passengers are one step closer to coming home as others from around the area still working to return to Canada.
The Norwegian Jewel ship docked in Pago Pago, American Samoa after being turned away at several ports.
The ship is expected to port in Honolulu, Hawaii on March 22, where passengers can catch a flight back to Canada.
“Hopefully when they fly out of Hawaii they can get their flights right away and not have to wait on a 14-day quarantine,” said Rob Lowe, whose family members are stuck on the ship.
The ship was in the middle of a trip when the cruise line announced voyages were suspended. It was originally modified for the ship to disembark in Auckland, New Zealand on March 20.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Trudeau called for abroad residents to come home.
Danielle Hennink and Cathryn Edgar of Paris, Ont. are stuck at an Airbnb in Cusco, Peru with other travellers after the country announced a 15-day lockdown on Sunday.
“Everyone here is disappointed but in very good spirits,” said Hennink. “The only time we’re allowed out I believe is if we’re in a group of one or two and we’re going for groceries or water. We have to make sure we carry a passport on us at all times.”
In Morocco, international flights were suspended on Sunday.
The Canadian Embassy advised Canadians to buy a ticket home via a third country. Mount Forest resident Stacey Bell, who is currently stuck in the country, says that’s nearly impossible.
“We tried and tried and tried and everyday it just felt less and less easy,” she said. “Every day it just felt like more hoops [to jump through] and there are more barriers waiting for us no matter where we went.”
In an automated email reply to Bell, Global Affairs Canada specified, “you should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance related to making changes to your travel arrangements with your service provider.”
The Prime Minster later announced a $5,000 emergency loan program to Canadians abroad from Global Affairs.
"The program will provide the option of an emergency loan to eligible Canadians who are in need of immediate financial assistance to secure their timely return travel to Canada and to temporarily cover their life-sustaining needs while they work towards their return," Global Affairs Canada said in a statement.
In the United Kingdom, 41 students from Listowel are planning to fly home on Saturday.
The students left on Thursday when there were only travel advisories for places like China, Italy, and Iran.
Almost as soon as they landed, non-essential travel outside Canada was being discouraged by public health officials.