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North Texas couple quarantined on cruise ship amid coronavirus concerns

George and Marilyn Sanders are trying to pass the time along with friends from North Texas and are desperate to get home.

DALLAS — George and Marilyn Sanders have had to stay in their room onboard the Grand Princess cruise ship since Thursday.

They’re circling off the coast of California near Oakland and San Francisco.

“We’re all doing fine. It’s kind of the same for everyone,” Marilyn Sander said. “We have one friend who brought a quilt along. I bet she’ll get it finished."

The Flower Mound couple went on the cruise with others from North Texas.

The cruise went from San Francisco to Hawaii. Now, at least 21 people on board have tested positive for COVID-19.

Credit: George and Marilyn Sanders
George and Marilyn Sanders (furthest right) are two passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship that was quarantined last week.

“We turned around and thought we were headed to Mexico, and then they notified us that there were some issues,” Marilyn said.

Monday afternoon, the ship will dock in Oakland and the couple and around other 3,500 others will disembark.

Credit: George and Marilyn Sanders
The room George and Marilyn Sanders have been stuck in since Thursday after there was an outbreak of the new coronavirus, on their cruise ship.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Sunday there are 90 Texans on board who will head to Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio. There they’ll go through a 14-day quarantine.

“We’re glad we’re going to Texas,” Marilyn said. “Someone was just at the door and delivered masks.”

“We call each other probably once or twice a day and just kind of joke along,” George said.

The ship’s crew also delivered a cake and ice cream Sunday because Marilyn celebrated her birthday Sunday. 

Credit: George and Marilyn Sanders
Crews brought Marilyn Sanders a birthday cake to celebrate while she and husband George were stuck in their room aboard the Gran Princess cruise ship.

As a couple in their 70s, they know they’re at higher risk to have issues with the new coronavirus.

“I’m a little concerned about my health, and I have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),” George said. “That’s a little scary.”

On the ship, medications are ordered the same way as food. Paper menus are slid under doors. 

Credit: George and Marilyn Sanders
George and Marilyn Sanders have been stuck on the Grand Princess cruise ship since there was an outbreak of the new coronavirus onboard. They have been getting their food on trays delivered outside of their room to minimize contact.

Saturday, they got a delivery via helicopter.

“Some lady calls out, 'I’ll give you $4,000 if you let me go on your ship,'" Marilyn said.

Announcements come via intercom. The ship is giving everyone daily packets of word searches and sudokus.

“One of them was for making Christmas ornaments, and George says, ‘I hope we don’t have to use those,'" Marilyn said.

They feel lucky their cabin faces the ocean so they can at least have daylight. They’re anxious to step foot on land and they're desperate to finally get home.

“Everybody needs the prayers of everybody that this will work itself out soon,” George said.

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