Couple keeps COVID-19 at bay for over 2 years, then they went on a cruise

PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. – A South Florida couple is back home from a cruise vacation and they are issuing a warning. They said they were shocked when they found themselves in the middle of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Still, there is no official word from Celebrity Cruise Lines, which is why the couple wanted to share their story with Local 10 News.

“We’ve gone 2 and a half years without getting COVID and were very cautious about that,” said Ray Rinaldi, who went on a cruise with his wife, Linda. “I went on this cruise thinking I wouldn’t get it. I’m vaxed, I’m double-boosted,” said Linda.

They boarded a 12-day southern Caribbean cruise on the Celebrity Equinox and it was everything they wanted it to be. Until it wasn’t. Halfway through their luxury trip, they say they got news from the ship’s captain.

“He says, we have 23 cases of COVID. The next day, he says we have 33 cases of COVID,” Ray Rinaldi said.

The couple got tested and found out they had contracted COVID-19.

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“The nurse that morning told me it was over 100 cases,” said Ray.

They went from a room with a balcony view to quarantine quarters for seven days, a far cry from their luxury accommodations.

“The first room they put me in for quarantine did not have a door that locked to the hallway. That was a huge concern to me,” Linda said.

“I’m wondering how you can possibly get COVID-19 on a ship that’s supposedly 100 percent vaccinated,” Ray said.

Now, back home, they are isolated and still recovering.

The couple says the vacation was both a nightmare and a reality check.

We asked them: “What does it tell you about the state of the pandemic that we are in?”

“I don’t think it’s over. And now I’m beginning to think it’s never going to be over. I think cruising is as safe as they can make it. Nobody can control COVID-19,” Linda said.

The cruise line’s COVID-19 policy reads: “All crew and guests who are eligible to be vaccinated must be fully vaccinated.”

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We did reach out to Celebrity for comment on the story. They have yet to get back to Local 10 News.

The Rinaldis are back at home and still recovering from symptoms of COVID-19.

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