Dillsburg’s Bill & Colette Smedley were onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship that’s the subject of a HBO documentary. Now, they celebrate getting their shots

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Bill and Colette Smedley have every reason to celebrate getting their 2nd coronavirus vaccines.

It marks the end to a long journey that started back at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic when their anniversary vacation ended with the couple being trapped in Japan onboard a Diamond Princess cruise ship packed with people infected with coronavirus. 

“What was so significant was the unknown,” said Bill Smedley. “Nobody knew what was going on when we got on that ship. You know you always think for the best but we weren’t sure if everybody would end up dying.”

The couple’s 2020 vacation began on January 6th and was supposed to end February 3. But, they didn’t arrive home until March of 2020 after they were quarantined on the cruise ship and then quarantined again at a base in San Antonio, Texas. 

“There is no place like home,” Bill had told FOX43 back in March 2020 after he and his wife arrived back in Pennsylvania.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship the couple was onboard is now the subject of a documentary airing on HBO.

“The stress was just unbelievable,” Bill said Thursday as FOX43’s Jamie Bittner met the couple right before their second doses of the coronavirus vaccine. He recalled the room the couple stayed in on the cruise ship, calling it ‘a little cabin without any windows.’

The Smedley’s said they believe the crew had it worse than they did during the time period that people began falling sick on the cruise. They also noted that although they have watched the HBO documentary, they chose not to take part in the making of it.

Despite their experience during the pandemic, the couple said they plan on going on a cruise again perhaps to the Panama Canal.

They noted since being back home in Dillsburg they have been living their lives while also not taking any unnecessary chances. Finding shots, however, did prove to be a challenge as they said they spent some time looking before landing appointments in Perry County.

“It’s amazing. We had to travel to Duncannon to get it. It’s a nice day to drive up the river, so it’s not so bad,” said Bill. 

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