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Iowans on cruise ship expected to be home soon

Cathy Tieszen's daughter is on a cruise ship near Dubai right now. Fortunately, no one on board has reported any illnesses.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Cathy Tieszen is like anyone else's mom. All three of her girls are grown up, but she worries a lot about them.

She's especially worried about her youngest daughter who is on a cruise with her husband. Right now they are cleared to enter port in Dubai, but Cathy says plans could change due to COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.

"So, she was supposed to go to China and she was supposed to go to different places in China and in Japan. Well, as they were leaving, they were told that wasn't happening anymore," Cathy told Local 5.

Their cruise left on Feb. 11, which was the same day that the World Health Organization gave COVID-19 its name. Cathy says no one on board has reported any illnesses.

Their trip was supposed to stop in many of the Asian ports, according to Cathy. Instead of China and Japan, they went to Singapore. Then, the virus got worse, and their original stops were changed. 

Their cruise will last for a total of 30 days, however other passengers on board signed up for 60 days. Those on the cruise for 60 days were supposed to end in Italy. 

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Fortunately for Cathy's daughter and son-in-law, their trip will end in Dubai.

"So it's been changing literally daily," Cathy said. "A lot of the ports that they were going to go in, that they had excursions on were canceled, and they spent most of their cruise out at sea, which, you know, that sounds like fun."

"But when you're on there for 30 days, it's no longer fun," she concluded. 

Cathy says her daughter has "a great attitude" about the situation.

"She's like, 'Well, I'm just enjoying being on the ship, and you know, we'll lay out, eat and things like that', so she's got a great attitude," Cathy said.

Cathy says the couple was on the MSC Splendida cruise. She says the cruise won't be refunding their trip, and that insurance won't cover the impact of coronavirus.

18. MSC Splendida, built by MSC Cruises in 2009, weighs 137,936 GT and carries 3,274 passengers at double occupancy.

"I mean they're not even giving them free internet. My daughter had to pay for internet, even though all this was going on, so that she could communicate with us," Cathy said.

Fortunately, no one on board has reported any illnesses, Cathy said.

They are set to return to Iowa around March 14th. Cathy is making sure that they're fully prepared to return to their condo and stay there for 14 days, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Cathy hopes that the couple is able to come home sooner than expected, especially since one of their last ports was canceled. 

"It's just very heart wrenching having her so far away and being so helpless. And not knowing, not being able to do anything," Cathy said.

In the end, Cathy just hopes her daughter and son-in-law can get home safely. 

"I'm protective of my kids... but you know, I'm worried for everybody, not just my own children, but everybody on the ship," Cathy said.

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