Stranded on cruise ship, charging towards coronavirus hell
TWO elderly Sunshine Coast women are in an anxious 'race against time' as their cruise ship heads to COVID-19-ravaged Italy.
The European nation has been one of the countries hardest hit by the disease disaster and relatives of Aussie families on-board the Costa Victoria are growing increasingly worried as the ship sets sail for an emergency stop in Venice.
Sunshine Coast women Alana Hitch, 74, and Jean Gross, 78, are on-board the ship, working frantically to try and make flight arrangements home once the vessel reaches Italy.
It is currently sailing through the Suez Canal in Egypt en route to the Mediterranean Sea.
Mrs Hitch's daughter Rachael told The Courier-Mail it was a nervous wait for all Australians on-board.
"I know the Costa Victoria is an Italian ship but dumping elderly Australian passengers in Venice seems like pure madness," she said.
"There are people getting in touch with the Australian Embassy in Italy and no one is sure how they are going to get home.
"My mum has flights booked on Singapore Airlines but Singapore isn't accepting any passengers who have been in Italy.
"It's all a bit of a race against time to get to Italy and get flights out of there while they still can."
The ship is one of 35 around the globe with Aussies stranded by new hard line travel restrictions introduced in the wake of the coronavirus.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said assistance was being offered to Aussies caught up in the crisis.
"DFAT has offered consular support to those Australians, if required," the spokesperson said.
Australians requiring urgent consular assistance are able to call DFAT's Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 153 from Australia or +61 6261 3305 from overseas.
Originally published as Stranded on cruise ship, charging towards coronavirus hell