CHICAGO (CBS) — Stuck at sea for nearly two months.
A Chicago woman is among the hundreds stuck on a cruise ship waiting for approval to step foot on land again.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Rounding Out The Warmest Weekend Of The Winter
CBS 2’s Chris Tye has more on what’s taking so long and why some are needing to change vessels in the middle of the ocean.
That Chicago-area woman, who works for the cruise line, would rather not talk right now. But has lunch each day with the woman you’re about to meet.
They’re separated a bit while they eat, but their life stories are now joined together as they’ve shared more than 50 days in uncharted waters.
Thursday marks Day 54. That’s 54 days stuck at sea.
Her husband is the cruise ship’s navigation officer. Leaving Erika Monet Butters steering the complex waters of raising a two-year-old off the coast of the Bahamas.
“I am running low on diapers and wipes,” Butters said. “We are being denied entry because all this paperwork that needs to be filed and approved between the CDC and the cruise line.”
The Key West native is one of thousands floating through the pandemic. There are daily temperature checks to prove to the CDC those aboard are healthy enough to return to the mainland.READ MORE: MISSING: Khoshaba Dikyanos, 84, Last Seen In Lincoln Square
“My anxiety level has really gotten elevated,” Butters said. “I sporadically burst into emotion throughout the day.”
Erika, a former cruise ship entertainer herself, has begun recording alternative versions of songs you know.
“Honestly, it provides my sanity. That is my therapy,” she said.
It’s a creative outlet for her and a visual for family back home.
“Honestly, we feel forgotten. It’s not a good feeling.”
On Thursday, she learned the CDC has approved the Emerald Princess return to land Saturday, and for her a return to normal after what will total 56 days at sea.
“I miss having the control over our life,” Erika said. “I miss being able to say you want pancakes? Let’s make pancakes.”
A day in the life on the ship? Pools and gyms closed. There are rare fresh air breaks, and they’re mostly kept in their cabins. They say everyone on board is healthy. They’ve been treated well, but they’re more than ready to return home.MORE NEWS: Chicago Speed Cameras To Start Issuing $35 Tickets To Drivers Going 6 MPH Over The Limit On Monday
And now the CDC has said it’s OK to do just that.