A family-of-eight have revealed how their dream cruise turned sour when they had to stay inside two windowless cabins on the coronavirus-hit Grand Princess before being flown into a military camp where staff wore haz mat suits.
The Redd family, whose first names are unknown, spent four weeks away from their home in Washington when they joined thousands of others trapped on board the cruise liner which docked at Oakland in California two weeks ago.
The parents of six children, aged between one and 12, have shared their experience of quarantine through a number of posts and videos on Instagram.
They started the page, called @quarantined_with_6_kids, on Sunday, March 8, when they revealed they had been told to stay inside their cabins because a former passenger had died from coronavirus.
The Redd family, whose first names are unknown, spent four weeks away from their home in Washington when they joined thousands of others trapped on board the cruise liner which docked at Oakland in California two weeks ago. Pictured, in Hawaii
Their first post read: ‘This is our family in Hawaii just before we were told that someone who had been on our ship previously was diagnosed with and died from coronavirus/COVID19.
‘We had one last meal and headed to our two tiny windowless rooms where we have been since. Follow along as we document some of our experiences.’
The family spent five days watching films and playing with beads and other toys given to them by staff on-board the ship.
Another post explained: ‘We enjoyed a nice trip to Hawaii and a less than nice trip back. 80 hours and counting in these windowless rooms.
The parents of six children, aged between one and 12, have shared their experience of quarantine through a number of posts and videos on Instagram. Pictured, the children’s cramped cabin where they spent five days in quarantine
‘So far the kids have been troopers. We have lots to do, there are movies and… well there are lots of movies at least.’
Their mother, Jaynee, revealed in one video blog that her children did not want to play any games and were quite happy watching movies for hours each day.
Some 2,400 passengers had to disembark the ship before being brought into quarantine in the US, or else flown back to their respective countries, last week.
It came after a sister cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, became a hotbed for the virus when passengers quarantined off the coast of Japan all started to fall ill – resulting in 700 testing positive, and eight deaths.
When the Redd family were finally taken off their boat on March 12 they were flown to Marine Corps Base in Miramar, San Diego, where they spent a further five days before finally being given a hired van in which to drive home.
As they arrived home they were greeted by a dozen bags of groceries brought to them by kind friends, who left a large sign that read ‘welcome home Redds’.
The children are pictured on a bus after leaving the Grand Princess following five days of quarantine onboard. They were taken to a plane and flown to a San Diego military base
The family will have to spend a further 14 days in quarantine at home, but have been reunited with their pet dog Fawkes.
During the course of their quarantine they shared videos of the children running around the base’s playground – despite heavy rain – after their week spent inside the cabin of their cruise liner.
They revealed brand new toys had been provided for the children to play with and they were continuing with their home schooling.
Their father wrote: ‘School in quarantine. Several of our followers have expressed shock and surprise at how many kids we have (my wife’s fault, she’s obsessed with babies and kids), how much patience we have had through this, and how we are handling this situation with such a large family.’
The family were given a van in which to drive home after landing at Spokane airport, Washington yesterday
The family, who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, even got dressed up on Sunday despite not actually being able to go to church.
He said: ‘We started to home school two of our kids part way through last school year due to some circumstances unique to them.
‘This past summer, after much prayer and pondering, we felt like we were supposed to home school all of them (which is a crazy amount of work for jaynee btw).
‘Part of the reason was that our church leaders (we are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) started emphasizing the need for us to focus on teaching our children about Christ in the home and letting church be a supplement. The approach was termed a “home centered, church supported” approach to learning.’
While they were still on the boat, when one comment asked him how they were coping so well, he added: ‘With the kids we seem to have people checking on us a little more than likely would have otherwise.
‘They bring by bags with crafts, coloring pages, beads for necklaces and such. We’re all tired but feeling healthy.
The family were brought a bag full of brand new toys that had been donated to keep their children occupied while on the military base
The children were all thrilled when they were allowed outside to play in the park at the military base, even though it was heavily raining
‘We’re not looking forward to being shipped off to wherever we’re going next and sitting around for another few weeks. That, and, do we all end up getting sick from sitting here on this boat day after day?’
In one video he and one of his sons completed a number of exercises to keep themselves moving despite the cramped space.
Later, once in the military base, the father shares a photo of clean sheets being delivered by a worker in a haz mat suit.
The children continued their home schooling while they were at the military base
Clean sheets were delivered to them by workers who had to be decked out in Haz mat suits for their own safety in case anyone being quarantined fell ill
The family dressed up in their Sunday best despite not being able to get to church. Their father only later realized he had accidentally left one of his children out of the photograph
He said: ‘Also in there is a picture of us getting clean sheets. As you can see, even getting sheets and sending out our trash is quite the ordeal for those who are trying to take care of us.
‘It is not quite as simple as them just giving us the stuff we need unfortunately. We did get another donation delivery of some sports equipment.
‘They still have to play with masks on but we’re pretending it’s intentional high altitude simulated training since it’s hard to breath through those masks.’
Despite having left their car in California, and not knowing exactly what to expect after their ordeal, the family were relieved when they finally arrived home.
Their latest post, published yesterday, read: ‘It didn’t take 7 years, we are home!!! It was a long trip but not nearly as bad as I thought.
The family were forced to hang their clothes on the railings by the playpark so they could dry
The family arrived home to find a large sign that read ‘welcome home Redds’ nestled amongst a dozen bags of shopping
‘The first two hours we were stuck in a van and the kids all had to pee (as did I) but we couldn’t even get out to do that.
‘Then we had tolerable plane ride to Spokane where Washington DOH said, “Here is a van. Drive home stay in your house until your quarantine time is over”.
‘They were our favorite people in the world until we got home to see what all of our friends did to make us feel welcome… To be continued.’