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Coronavirus: Ottawa couple barred from boarding cruise after connection in Hong Kong
Published Saturday, February 8, 2020 5:14PM EST Last Updated Tuesday, February 11, 2020 10:03AM EST
The Elfords decided to return to Ottawa after being denied entry to their cruise.
UPDATE: The Elfords say Celebrity Cruises are reimbursing them for their rescheduled flight home.
An Ottawa couple is unpacking their bags, after they were denied boarding a cruise in Singapore.
Cheryl and Paul Elford were schedule to board the Celebrity Millenium Feb. 1 in Singapore, but amidst the coronavirus outbreaks, were told they could no longer go.
“24 hours ahead of time, they changed the itinerary and told us we couldn’t board,” said Cheryl Elford.
“If you had transited through Hong Kong you were denied boarding.”
The couple had a connecting flight through Hong Kong.
“Our flight was Ottawa to Toronto, Toronto to Hong Kong, where we spent four hours in the airport,” said Paul Elford.
“We only in the airport lounge, we really weren’t exposed to anything but there was ‘no exceptions’.”
Celebrity Cruises said in a letter to guests leaving Feb. 16, that in response to the coronavirus emergency, the ship will deny boarding to passengers who have visited, or travelled from or through mainland China or Hong Kong within 15 days prior to embarkation.
"Rest assured the health and safety of our guests and crew is Celebrity Cruises' number one priority," the statement, dated Jan 31, said.
"To that end, any guest who has transited through mainland China or Hong Kong, 15 days prior to embarkation will be denied boarding and issues a full refund. This includes guests on connecting flights."
The Elfords were in Hong Kong on Jan. 19, and therefore, based off this new measure, missed the quarantine period by two days. They decided to return to Ottawa.
“We didn’t know if it was going to get worse, so we just went home,” said Elford.
“We understand, but it was devastating.”
The Elfords say the cruise line told them they would be eligible for up to $500 dollars reimbursement for their last minute flights home, despite spending $2750 on flights back to Ottawa.
CTV News reached out to Celebrity Cruiselines but is still waiting on a response.
The additional measures come as several cruises have been quarantined and denied entry to ports by a number of countries.