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Houston couple finally home after being stuck 5 weeks on cruise ship due to COVID-19

HOUSTON – Hurdle after hurdle, one Houston couple is finally home after being stuck five weeks on a Princess cruise ship due to delays because of the coronavirus.

Willie and Patricia Kinnear embarked on their South American getaway March 5 in Chile. It was a dream vacation that turned into a nightmare. After 5 weeks at sea, they could not be happier to update KPRC 2 from their home in Houston.

“It was lovely, I couldn’t believe it. It was pretty emotional actually getting home after all the ups and downs,” Willie Kinnear said.

Their two week vacation turned into five weeks of uncertainty. After the coronavirus spread, port after port, their Coral Princess cruise ship was denied entry. The Kinnear’s feared they and around 1,800 other people on the ship might never make it home.

"You just don't really get told anything," Patricia Kinnear said.

Their supplies, clothes and patience were running thin. They thought they’d leave by April 5, but then Monday came. Then, they were told perhaps it would take another five days.

“(Willie) had a meltdown and was shouting and screaming at everything,” Patricia Kinnear said.

However, Tuesday morning a note was outside their door-telling them had a 3pm flight.

"They've changed it so many times, I said, 'I'll believe it when I'm actually off the ship!'" Patricia Kinnear said.

But, sure enough for the first time in weeks, they left their cabin.

“On to the bus an then a police escort to the airport -- you felt as though you were a criminal,” Patricia Kinnear said.

Even though they landed at Hobby Airport instead of Bush International Airport, when their driver took them home, they couldn’t help but smile.

“Our little boys have made a sign (saying), ‘Welcome home, Granny, Grandad!’ So it’s nice!” Patricia Kinnear said. “It’s absolutely great to be at home. The dogs are so excited. The cats are looking at us like we’re aliens.”

It's the little things they had missed all along.

"It's nice to be able to make yourself a cup of coffee a cup of tea," Patricia Kinnear said.

"I was really glad to get home," Willie Kinnear said.

The Kinnear’s said they will have to quarantine for another two weeks, but they say it’s much easier to do it where they are much more comfortable. The first thing they will do when they’re out is celebrate Patricia’s 65th birthday, which is in late April.