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'I have hope' | East Tennessee mom uneasy as family's cruise waits to dock

Ginger Pettit said her daughter and her parents left on a cruise a month ago. Once COVID-19 became a pandemic they attempted to dock but couldn't. Now she waits.

MARYVILLE, Tenn. — It all started a little over a month ago when Ginger Pettit dropped her 14-year-old off to go on a cruise with her grandparents.

For a while, all was well. 

"Originally they were able to get off the boat in places like Thailand and Singapore," she said. 

Until COVID-19 became a global pandemic. Everything in the world of travel changed and Pettit's family was caught in the middle of it. 

"But when that was shut down they were on the cruise and couldn't leave," Pettit said. 

Now, the three of them are still out on the water.

Pettit said the family has tried to dock multiple times with no luck.

They could in the next couple of days, but much is still unknown. As of now, Pettit and her parents are coming up with plans for when they finally do.

"March 11 is when the ban went into place. Well that's a month after my daughter left," she said. 

While her family had several plans in place from the beginning, no one could predict this turn of events.

"There are still Americans abroad and it's not that they didn't have an exit plan, it's that there are not exits," she said.

It is a reality that can bring some nervousness.

"I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared. I am a little scared and a little uneasy about what's going to happen because we just don't know," Pettit said. 

However, she finds it is best to just stay calm.

"You can't panic either, I'm holding on to the Isaiah 21 verse. It says, do not fear I am with you and that's what I'm holding on to," she added.

It is a dose of hope that she is sharing with others. This week she launched a Facebook page for families like hers.

"It's Americans Stranded Abroad is the name of the page," she said. 

It is a place where they can support one another. and share ideas.

"They will eventually get home I really believe that I don't know when," Pettit said. "We just need to support them and let them know they are not alone."

Pettit has been able to contact her family here and there but said they speak mainly through email and calls when they can.\

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