A CRUISE ship worker has finally returned home from the Philippines after four months stranded ­— spending weeks at a time quarantined in his cabin.

Eddy O’Brien, from Accrington, was stuck on board a Royal Caribbean ship in Manila since March 18 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The sound and light technician was twice forced to quarantine for 14 days in his cabin before being allowed to leave it for exercise, while maintaining social distancing from the rest of the crew.

Lancashire Telegraph:

He said: “I was working on a cruise ship and the pandemic happened and then we have been out of service and I haven’t been home since September.”

There were 400 other crew workers stuck onboard with Mr O’Brien and some of them are still there as they try to arrange travel to their various home countries.

He boarded the ship last year on September 10 and finally left it on July 19, going home to his worried mum Jo-Ann.

He said: “It was quite strange to begin with, we did not know what would happen and it can affect people’s mental health.

“You were stuck in a cabin for 24 hours a day and having food delivered to the door.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

All passengers were let off on March 18, but one passenger from Canada had tested positive for coronavirus so the crew were all tested. Three tested positive, so the whole ship went into lockdown. There was another lockdown in June after several more staff tested positive.

He said: “You could not do anything; some cabins did not have windows and those people were stuck in a box for 14 days.

“None of the facilities including gyms and pools were open on the ship.

Lancashire Telegraph:

“We played interactive bingo one day via the TVs.

“People think it is a luxury to have been on a cruise ship but we could not do anything and nothing was open.”

They did, however, get free internet and free movies on demand and were allowed to sunbathe when not quarantined.

Lancashire Telegraph:

The views from the cruise ship

The ship was anchored in Manila on April 6, after moving from Australian waters.

He said: “I was told they would stop paying me from July 10, so I really needed to get home.

“There was a flight on July 15, but they told me the night before, it was cancelled.

“It was tough, and I was so relieved when I landed in Manchester.”

While being away, Mr O’Brien missed seeing his mum who lives in Manchester Road.

He said: “My mum missed me, she hadn’t seen me for 10 months so it was hard for her.

“It’s interesting going around and seeing what has changed in Accrington now, but I’m so glad to be back.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

Mr O’Brien is now looking for a temporary job as he will not be able to get back on a cruise ship for some time.

His dream to work on a cruise ship came from his dad, who he says worked as a ship doctor.

He said: “He took us on holidays with him while he worked and I thought I wanted to work on one too.”