One year ago: Syracuse couple stuck in quarantine aboard COVID-19 cruise ship in Japan

Onondaga County

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s hard to believe it’s been one year since the Syracuse couple started their quarantine journey on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan in the early days of COVID-19.

What was planned to be Cheryl and Paul Molesky’s post-retirement dream trip, quickly changed because of the pandemic.

On January 16, 2020, the Central New York couple along with their relatives, Cindy and Pete Molesky of Rome, left the United States for Asia.

However, on February 5, 2020, their plans took an extraordinary turn.

The Captain aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship announced passengers could not disembark because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“It was a beautiful sunny day and we were on the sunny side of the ship, and it didn’t really feel super serious yet,” Cheryl explained. “You always think, ‘oh, it’s not going to happen to me. Oh, it’s not going to happen to us,’ and when we were on the Diamond Princess, we’re like ‘I can’t believe this is happening to us from Syracuse,'” she said.

The couple was gone for a total of 47 days and 28 of those were spent in quarantine.

After disembarking the Diamond Princess ship, the Molesky’s had a second quarantine at the Lackland Air Force Base in Texas before returning home to Central New York.

Fast forward one year later, the couple admits they weren’t expecting to still live a life in quarantine back home.

“365 days later, it just still feels surreal. It still feels unbelievable that we’re in this position,” Cheryl said.

“We had no idea. We thought we would get back here and be safe, and not be going through quarantine again for another year,” Paul Molesky explained. “I feel like yes, we have to do this. We have to do this as a society,” he said.

Cheryl and Paul say their experience is helping them navigate the pandemic now, and gives them the hope they need to keep pushing forward.

“We realize how interconnected we are as a world and that we need to work together, and we need to care for each other and be kind to each other and I think that is my biggest hope,” said Cheryl.

Paul was able to get his first dose of the COVID vaccine. Both are keeping up with their artwork to stay busy during the pandemic.

Visit Cheryl and Paul’s website or their YouTube channel to learn more about them.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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