Coronavirus concerns sink New Jersey couple's wedding plan on Norwegian cruise ship

TOMS RIVER, New Jersey -- A couple from Toms River, New Jersey says a new cruise line policy aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus is ruining their wedding.

"We thought after doing so many months of research that this was going to be beneficial for everyone involved," said Jocelyn Kirchner.

Jocelyn Kirchner and Daniela Kenmure booked their wedding on a Norwegian cruise ship for March 6, planning a ceremony and reception for 75 people at the harbor in Manhattan.

Fifty of those guests would not be sailing and would leave the cruise ship before it departed.

"We asked, 'Do they need passports?' And we were told, 'No,'" said Kenmure. "Their license, a passport or a birth certificate is enough."

Then on Wednesday they got an email detailing a new cruise line policy, requiring that non-sailings guests have a passport to prove they have not traveled to China.

The document on Norwegian Cruise Line letterhead the couple provided to Action News says, "All day visitors are required to present their passport to verify no visits to mainland China in the last 30 days. Guests that arrive to the port without a passport will be denied boarding."

"There's no way we could ask our 50 friends and family members to all go get passports expedited in this amount of time," said Kenmure.

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Officials have ruled out COVID-19 for at least one of two college students being tested and Philadelphia health officials have also ruled out a potential case they were watching.

They say many of their day guests do not have a passport, including members of their bridal party, some of whom are traveling from Philadelphia and south Jersey.

They say they offered to have their guests seen by doctors to ensure they are not sick, but they say the cruise line is holding firm.

"How do you plan a wedding you already planned and have to pretty much scrap it and re-start everything in 21 days?" said Kirchner.

Action News reached out to Norwegian Cruise Line several times on Thursday and has not gotten a response.

The couple says they have been offered a 70% refund for the ceremony and reception, but are still out $3,000. They say they are struggling to find a new venue that will accommodate them and their budget less than a month from their wedding date.
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