MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – A Myrtle Beach performer dancing overseas has been stuck on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship during COVID-19.
Taryn Martin returned home on Friday, currently in quarantine from her home.
“We flew from the Philippines to South Korea, South Korea to Chicago, Chicago to Charlotte, Charlotte to Myrtle Beach,” Taryn Martin, Royal Cruise performer from Myrtle Beach said.
The Myrtle Beach dancer began professionally at Legends in Concert and the Carolina Opry, before taking a leap of faith performing on a cruise ship where she’d be stuck during a pandemic.
“We weren’t able to dock, we weren’t able to port,” Martin said.
The stage, the dancing, and the costumes were cut off in March when ships and members were on lockdown. On March 25th, she was considered a nonessential worker and laid off but unable to get off the ship.
Guests got off March 18th when the spread was nearly universal. As countries began to shut down, so were ports enabling the remainder of performers and staff to get home. Martin was one of the performers taken out of her original cabin and moved to a designated area on lockdown for 18 days.
“Being cut off from that setting, nobody was ready for it. We just weren’t ready to give that part of ourselves up yet,” Martin said.
Meals were delivered to their cabins as they could not leave, the only fresh air was from her room balcony. Everything else — the dancing, the job, her team, was cut off instantly.
“It’s a part of us, it’s an emotion for us we weren’t able to let out anymore, that’s our way to connect with people we weren’t connecting with the world anymore, our bodies weren’t moving,” Martin said.
On April 28th, Martin was one of thirteen Americans that Royal Cruise members were able to get home. It was an experience involving strict protocols and constant testing.
“I had so many people calling the U.S. Senator, calling the embassy, making any phone call they could to try to get not only the Americans but also these crew members home,” Martin said.
Martin kept track of the days through the journal that carried the faith that finally got her home.
When she left last week, she was one of the first on the cruise ship to get home internationally. Thousands of cruise members from other countries are still on board and can’t get home.