CALGARY -- When Ron Taylor and Deb McDaniel boarded their South American cruise on March 2, the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic still seemed distant.

But a trip ashore near the southern tip of Chile on March 11 would be their last time on dry land for the next 20 days.

The ship was barred from docking in Chile again, even as passengers hoped for quick flights home. The trip was supposed to end in Lima, Peru, but the country also refused to allow passengers to disembark.

Taylor said the captain of the Azamara Pursuit, Carl Smith, was heroic in his efforts to communicate with the 700 passengers, keep them safe and negotiate an end to their journey.

"I’d follow him over a cliff if he asked me to," Taylor said.

No one on the ship became sick with COVID-19.

Passengers were finally allowed to disembark in Miami, where they flew to Toronto and then home to Calgary on March 31.

Canada customs were very clear with the couple on their need to quarantine for 14 days upon their return home. The couple were required to provide contact information and customs said they would check up on the couple to make sure they stayed at home.

"Which I have no problem with," Taylor said. "We’re not going anywhere."

Hundreds of Canadians have been stranded on board cruise ships as the pandemic gathered speed. Most have now returned home.