By Lauren Victory

CHICAGO (CBS) — A year ago this week, thousands of cruise ship passengers were stranded off the coast of California; kept on a boat as COVID-19 spread, in an attempt to keep the virus out of the United States.

We all know that didn’t pan out. Neither did a family vacation hit not once, not twice, but three times with bad luck.

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CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory takes us inside their woes.

While Floridians battened down the hatches against Hurricane Dorian in the summer of 2019, these Indiana Hoosiers were packing for a 10th wedding anniversary trip with fingers crossed.

“They weren’t sure of the path of the hurricane was. So, we would be out there with the hopes that the hurricane didn’t come where we were,” Lenette Austin said.

Hurricane Dorian wound up blasting the Bahamas – exactly where the bride, groom, and their 15-person crew was headed on a Royal Carribbean cruise.

“It was almost like a game of chicken. They were waiting on us to cancel so we couldn’t get our money back is what I felt,” Earl Wallace said.

The ultimate offer? Take a shortened cruise, a refund, or a credit for a future trip.

They chose to try again in March 2020, not knowing that a different storm would be brewing.

COVID-19 began to strike passengers on ships like the Grand Princess from Princess Cruises. Some people were left stranded for days.

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Cecilia Wallace said they decided not to go on the rescheduled cruise.

“With this pandemic, those close quarters, everybody on the ship getting sick? No,” she said.

“We all sent emails stating we would like our money back,” Nicole Wallace said.

That was a year ago. Royal Caribbean refused to grant a refund, and would only offer another voucher, because they used a credit to book the second cruise.

The company is holding onto an estimated $10,000 from the family.

“There’s been several things over the past year I could’ve used that money for,” Austin said.

“Bills and schooling and food,” Larraine Harris said.

“With the pandemic, you know there was a few people who lost their jobs,” Nicole Wallace said.

They’re hoping to say bon voyage to this family headache, since setting sail on a third cruise isn’t even an option right now.

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That third burst of bad luck? Royal Caribbean isn’t budging on its no refund policy.

Lauren Victory