Woman, husband allowed to disembark from Coral Princess docked at PortMiami


MIAMI (WSVN) - A woman and her husband have been allowed to disembark from the Coral Princess days after the coronavirus-stricken ship docked at PortMiami.

Kathleen O’Neill, 64, and her 71-year-old husband were allowed to board a bus and fly back home to North Carolina, Tuesday.

On the morning of her long-awaited departure, O’Neill performed Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” on a ukulele from a balcony on the cruise ship.

“Sent it to my friends with the message, ‘We’re getting ready to get off. It’s going to be over soon,'” O’Neill said.

She and her husband were among hundreds of passengers who spent a month on the Coral Princess, a cruise ship with a COVID-19 outbreak.

When it finally docked at PortMiami Saturday, two people were dead, and another would die at the hospital.

Two dozen others were taken to the hospitals for treatment as the cruise line worked to get the passengers who were not sick home, either by car service or chartered flight.

The O’Neill’s had been sitting in their room at the port since the ship docked.

“I do not want to die on this ship,” O’Neill said.

They worried for their safety and sent messages with signs from the balcony. They were among the last to leave the ship.

“I would like to mention how gracious and kind Princess has been through this,” O’Neill said. “It was not their fault. As soon as they knew that there was something wrong, they did everything in their power to protect us.”

On Tuesday, she said she feels thankful she to be well and on land. O’Neill gave 7News cameras a wave as she and her husband boarded a bus to the airport for their flight home to North Carolina.

With so many across the U.S. in isolation during the deadly outbreak, O’Neill offered some advice.

“You have to stay positive,” she said. “You have to find the things that bring joy.”

There are at least 60 people, both crew members and passengers, who remain confined to the ship with mild symptoms. They will have to remain in isolation until they are well.

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