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NWI couple to sail home after coronavirus keeps ship at sea
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NWI couple to sail home after coronavirus keeps ship at sea

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After being denied entry to a port in San Antonio, Chile, around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, the Celebrity Eclipse is getting ready to return to the U.S. 

At the end of February, Michael Mason and his wife, Linda, left for what was supposed to be a month-long cruise. The couple had planned to do a back-to-back trip starting with a 15-day cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago, Chile. Then, they were going to embark on another 16- to 17-day trip from Santiago to San Diego, California.

The voyage honoring Michael's retirement was cut short after cruise line companies began to take precautions in the midst of a global pandemic. 

On Tuesday, Michael Mason, who lives in the Lakes of the Four Seasons, said the ship was denied entry into any Chilean port, preventing passengers from disembarking.

The disembarkation was halted after Chile Minister of Health Jaime Mañalich said in a tweet Saturday the country had suspended cruise ships docking in Chilean ports beginning Sunday morning.

While the ship was not allowed to dock, it is anchored in Valparaiso, Chile, waiting for supplies, Mason said. 

"Chilean nationals were allowed to be taken from the ship but no one else," Mason said in an email.  

All of the supplies coming to the ship need to be transported by small barges, a process the captain estimates will take a day, Mason said. Because people planned on disembarking in Santiago, there are concerns some passengers won't have enough medication for the next leg of the trip, Mason added. 

"They were asking anyone with that concern to bring their medication needs to the attention of the Ships Medical Center as they were going to try and have prescriptions filled by the Chilean authorities," he said. 

After supplies are replenished, the boat will make its way to San Diego, Mason said. The trip will take about 10 days. 

Though the ship was unable to dock due to growing concerns about COVID-19, Mason said there isn't anyone aboard with the coronavirus disease.

"No one on the ship is ill," Mason said. 

Other than not being able to dock, everything is continuing like normal. Passengers aren't confined to their rooms, there's free WiFi and drinks and activities are ongoing. 

"They've done everything they can to make it bearable for people," Mason previously said. 

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South Lake County Reporter

Mary Freda is the South Lake County reporter at The Times. She is a proud Ball State graduate, where she studied news journalism and Spanish. You can reach Mary at mary.freda@nwi.com or 219-853-2563.

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