Harvey couple survive coronavirus cruise ship ordeal
A Harvey couple’s 40th wedding anniversary cruise took a shocking turn when a coronavirus outbreak forced all passengers into lockdown for seven gruelling days.
David and Brenda Rondo have been cruising for 30 years, however their special celebration suddenly became their worst nightmare, when their cruise ship went into lockdown in foreign waters.
The pair were sailing on the Costa Victoria when several passengers contracted COVID-19, just 14 days into the 21-day journey.
When we heard the announcement, everyone went silent, it was like a declaration of war.
The passengers were marched into their cabins, where they remained for seven days.
Mr and Mrs Rondo had no windows or fresh air and security patrolled the corridors, barring them from exiting their claustrophobic room.
“It was really depressing,” Mrs Rondo said.
“We were fed lots of rice, cold scrambled eggs and boiled cabbage.
“We just watched repeats of Little House on the Prairie and Father Brown because they were the only shows in English.”
The pair were told no ports would take them, so the ship was forced to sail back to Rome — the epicentre of the pandemic at the time.
A charter flight came to the rescue of more than 200 Australians on board and landed on March 30.
Mr and Mrs Rondo said they were “absolutely delighted” to be back on Aussie soil. The pair are now in mandatory quarantine at Crown and wanted to thank everyone who lobbied the government to bring them home.
“It’s so nice to rest my face against the window and get some sunlight now,” Mrs Rondo said.
The couple said they could not wait to get back to their farm in Harvey.
“I’m really looking forward to riding my horses again,” Mr Rondo said.
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