Spokane couple sees Singapore cruise canceled due to coronavirus concerns

SPOKANE, Wash. — Like countless others across the world, Beverly and Lee Smick were tracking the headlines about hundreds of Americans quarantined aboard a Diamond Princess cruise ship plagued by the coronavirus – only the Smicks were in Singapore, ready to head out on a cruise of their own.

Their trip was over before it really even started.

“We went to bed that night, just ‘Oh, I can’t wait to get on the ship tomorrow! This is gonna be awesome!’,” Beverly said. “And then I get a call in the middle of the night.”

Months of planning, hundreds of dollars, and hours of traveling were unraveled when Beverly got a message, saying their trip with Princess Cruises had been canceled just about nine hours before they were supposed to set sail. She and Lee had only been in Singapore for a day or so when they got the news and headed back to the states.

“Princess Cruise was not letting anyone on the ship that had been to mainland China, Hong Kong or Macao in the last 14 days,” she said. “They said they were physically going to go through your passport and make sure you were telling the truth.”

Evidently, those precautions weren’t enough.

“You start thinking about it and you think, well they just don’t do this to upset you or anything. There’s a reason for it,” Lee said. “”I think it’s probably because the other countries were probably going to refuse them entry or something like that.”

Beverly and Lee were some of the first to learn of Princess Cruises’ cancellations, which will extend into late April. As of Sunday afternoon, there have been 15 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S.

“You know, reason takes over,” Lee said.

“I was ready to take that chance,” Beverly laughed. “I would’ve gotten on in a heartbeat if they’d have let us.”

Despite the last-minute change of plans, Beverly and Lee are in good spirits. They said it could’ve been a lot worse, based on what they were seeing out of Japan.

“We see people like them who went through a lot more,” Lee said. “We’re pretty lucky — it was no impact compared to those poor people, being stuck in their cruise ship, not being able to get out.”

The retired couple told 4 News Now they’ve since been refunded for the cruise and are already looking forward to their next adventure.

“It was just a little bump,” Beverly said. “Now we can just kind of laugh about it, because it was an adventure and just move on to the next.”