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NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A luxury cruise ship that departed from Red Hook, Brooklyn, on December 22 with 1,575 passengers on board won't return to New York City after COVID-19 concerns prompted a call for extra crew.
The Queen Mary 2, the the flagship of Cunard Line since succeeding Queen Elizabeth 2 in 2004, remains anchored outside Barbados and is expected to stay there until January 2.
The ship is currently on a 28-night itinerary that originally left Southampton on December 13, 2021, and the extended stay means that it will be unable to call in New York on January 3 if it is to maintain the arrival back in Southampton on January 10.
"This has been our Christmas/New Year's cruise for the last six years or so," passenger Howard Benjamin said. "We just love the ship. It has a soul of its own. It's elegant, it's an ocean liner, and it's a beautiful ship."
But several days in, the first glitch -- a stop in Tortola -- was canceled because COVID test results weren't ready. Then, a stop at St. Kitts was also scratched.
Passengers were finally allowed to disembark in Barbados, but once they returned to ship, news came from the captain.
"Unfortunately, we're stuck out here in Barbados, waiting to get back to New York," passenger Selma al-Hamdy said. "We are not going to be sailing back to New York. They're going to find a way to send us back, but how, we're not sure at this point."
It's just the latest disturbance when it comes to cruises and COVID, with the CDC now investigating or observing 86 cruise ships with reported cases.
And while Benjamin says he and his wife enjoy ship and its unlimited food and drink, they'd like to know how and when they're getting home.
"I don't feel like we're prisoners," he said. "This is really only our second day sitting here in the beautiful weather looking at Barbados. But I think in a day or two it's going to be a little bit disconcerting that here we are, we're not moving."
All guests will be able to stay on board for New Year's Eve, and flight arrangements from Barbados will be made for guests due to disembark in New York.
Passengers will be given a 125% future cruise credit of monies paid on their booking pro rata to all days sailed from December 22, or a 100% refund on the same pro rata basis.
The CDC is investigating the Queen Mary 2, which means they have reported COVID cases in more than 0.10% of passengers or they have had a single crew member test positive in the previous seven days.
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