A Cruise Ship Homecoming

Tonight, 10 Belizean cruise ship entertainers and crew members are under mandatory quarantine at the Radisson. That's after their triumphant return to Belizean shores on Saturday morning.

7News was there at the Radisson Pier, and while police kept us away, they spoke to Cherisse Halsall via zoom.

Here's what they had to say about the end of one quarantine and the start of another.

On Saturday morning when the Rhapsody of the seas dropped anchor off English Caye, it became the first cruise ship to do so in over a month but in these troubling times, it didn't come bearing curious travellers but homeward bound Belizeans.

Reporter
"That moment when you stepped off the boat onto the pier and you're home, you know, you can see the shore, how does that feel?"

Ryan Bennet, MC
"Well, first of all, I have to talk about the view coming in from the southern channel, that was breathtaking. I never experience something like that before, because most of ths chips that I have been on usually go southern Caribbean or into Mexico and into Europe. I always wanted experience sailing into Belize and then when it actually happened I was up on the 10th deck and I was able to have a bird's eye view of all the little islets and of course, the channels that we were going into and I was saying to myself mein Belize is breathtakingly beautiful. The feeling was definitely a pleasant one to seeing home and the city."

Linda Blease, Belizean DJ
"First of all it was hot. I'm just joking. I was happy to be home honestly I was really, really happy to just step foot on land."

Arleen Bennet, Sports
"Technically I was busy holding my phone up cause I wanted to record the moment of me stepping onto Belize land in a couple of months."

Linda Blease, Belizean DJ
"They fogged our stuff before, all our luggage and stuff, before we got on the tender and they have is gloves and masks and then when we got in the tender they told all of us to sit down at one side of the boat. And I liked all the precautions they were taking to get us without contaminating the rest of society for a better sense of the word."

Precautions for unlikely contamination that went beyond sanitary measures and included police guarded barricades. Akeem Gill thinks it was a bit much but he enjoyed it all the same

Akeem Gill, Sales Rep, Park West Gallery
"News was making it sound like we, everybody been saying that every ship out there have Corona, it wasn't even that. Our ship didn't have one case on board. Most of the time like I was actually in a hot tub, I was in a jacuzzi, I was in the pool, walking around the ship. Leaving the ship I was actually kinda sad a little bit. I am happy being home, I am happy to touch land. When I touch ground in Belize, I wanted to hug the ground. You guys are afraid of us coming here, we were afraid of you guys as much as you guys are afraid of us. I love when we came into Belize that you didn't feel like your country didn't want you. They let us in with Big arms open."

"I felt like I was part of, like I was a prime minister, Like I was higher arch, I was like why didn't you guys treat me like this like way before, a pandemic needs to come before, for you guys to let me feel like I'm Mufasa."

And how are quarantine accommodations at the Radisson? The hope is that hotel comforts will make the days fly by.

Linda Blease, Belizean DJ
"The rooms are really comfy, it's Radisson, so they di go off. The place really clean and the food good, so I don't have any complains. All we have to do is stay in our corner until 14 days pass to do our checkup and everything and make sure we really don't have anything and send us home."

Arleen Bennet, Sports Staff, Symphony of the seas
"Quarantine is quarantine as long as your mentally strong I supposed, no matter where you are if you are up for the challenge you can make it. When I look outside, I'm home. Coming from a ship that didn't have any infections and we've been on quarantine for the past 2 months. For the most part I can see that we are probably more scared here at home. Because we know we come from a sterile environment and then once we come out its just like can I trust that person I see there, because we had a very strict regimen on the ship. When my sister told me that I will have to stay in a hotel I was like no, because I had already made plans to have an apartment ready for myself, because I don't want to come back and risk infecting my family and friends, so I had arrange to have a place for myself ready as I am pretty sure most of the other guys here with me did as well and then we learn there was a mandatory thing. The government is enforcing us to do the quarantine; if they want us to do it then they should pay."

And while cruise ship staff had their quarantine expenses covered for many Belizeans the steep expense will be an out of pocket one. I wondered if Linda and the guys had any advice for their fellow Belizeans still awaiting repatriation.

Linda Blease, Belizean DJ
"I know there are lots of people who still have questions and don't know the direction to go and to find out when it pertains to them specifically."

Ryan Bennet, MC
"I would say to them that if you have never been in quarantine you are going to make it home, but you got to really push at it. You need to exchange information with the government; you need to get in contact with people."

As for their post quarantine plans, Key to most of them is some element of Belizean food.

Cherisse Halsall:
"So now when you get out of quarantine after 13 days what's the first thing you're gonna do?"

Akeem Gill, Sales Rep, Park West Gallery
"Li Chee, No lie."

Linda Blease
"Me, me gwen home and lock up again."

Arleen Bennet
"Honestly I'm gonna go straight to my grandma's house and hopefully she has some food ready for me.I love to eat."

The ten Belizean Cruise Ship workers will be swabbed and tested for COVID-19 next week. Their quarantine is expected to end on Saturday June 6th.

Channel 7