Couple quarantined on cruise at beginning of pandemic warns about CDC's lift on no-sail order

In a major move, the CDC is lifting its no-sail order paving the way for the cruise industry to try and recover, but there's a number of conditions that could mean it could be a while before passengers set sail.

"Are ships going to be prepared with the life-saving ventilators or ER-type docs?" cruise ship passenger Gay Courter wondered.

Back in February, Courter and her husband Phil were among 3,700 other passengers forced to quarantine aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship after a passenger tested positive for COVID-19.

"The worst part for us was we had a balcony overlooking the pier so we're watching ambulances and military vehicles and all kinds of fire and press. It was like we landed in the middle of a disaster movie," Courter said.

Coronavirus lived on Diamond Princess cruise ship for up to 17 days, CDC says

A new study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that the genetic material of the coronavirus was present for up to 17 days on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Courter and her husband were eventually able to return back home to Citrus County 44 days after they initially set sail on their 14-day cruise. The whole experience has Courter concerned for future passengers. 

"There's no way to keep the disease off the ship. You can wear a mask. You can social distance, but what is a cruise without eating and drinking," Courter said.

Under the new order, cruise lines must meet certain requirements before they can begin operations with real passengers. Companies must show they can adhere to testing, social distancing and quaranting requirements when necessary.

Also, before real voyages can begin cruise lines must do "mock voyages" with volunteers acting as passengers to test how well restrictions are working.

"I have been on 20 or more cruises and I can't wait to cruise again, but we have to have a vaccine first," Courter said.