Update: David Stephen said the ship is taking a list of medications to get filled, and his friend’s cancer medication is being FedEx’d to Hawaii as we speak. 

“Spirit is a little higher on board today than the past few days,” Stephen said to his son. 


By Raiza Giorgi



Brett Stephen said he can only remember a handful of times he’s seen his tough as nails dad cry, not even after almost severing a finger and using duct tape to hold it together. 

“My dad is losing it because he is stressed if he cannot get his heart medication refilled he might die. He’s also worried about his friend that is a cancer patient who is dangerously low on his meds,” Stephen said. 

His father David Bruce Stephen, 71, has been traveling on the Norwegian Jewel, which has made international headlines as the cruise ship has found itself turned away from multiple ports. Stephen said he is sure there are more passengers like his father who depend on medication and not being allowed off to get to a pharmacy. 

“I am sure he’s not the only case, and of course we worry about his safety,” Stephen said. 

David Stephen is from Los Olivos and grew up in the area and ran a successful construction company until retiring in the early 2000’s. He then moved to Colorado and has enjoyed his retirement going on many cruises with friends until the coronavirus. 

All cruise ships are on a 30-day pause in operations that took effect March 14, 2020. At the time of the directive pausing operations,  two ships, the Maasdam operated by Holland American Line and the Norwegian Jewel operated by Norwegian Cruise Line, were already at sea.

Stephen said he has reached out to every official he can think of with little to no response. The only response Stephens said has come from Congressman Salud Carbjal’s office, but no action. 

“Even reached out to Tulsi Gabbard’s office and nothing,” Stephen said audibly upset.

The Star reached out to Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann’s office who passed the information to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office and Carbajal’s office. The Star also tried to reach Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and left messages. 

There might be some relief as the Jewel and the Maasdam, will be allowed to dock and refuel and restock supplies including medicine. There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on either ship. None of the passengers or crew are being allowed to disembark, according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation.

“Any passenger that might need medicine refilled needs to communicate that to the ship doctor as soon as possible who can communicate that to officials,” said Shelley Kunishige, of the Hawaii DOT when the Star reached out. 

Thats the ships wake. Only one side is churning they are apparently having a hard time keeping it straight.
Photo contributed by David Stephen

The Norwegian Jewel is scheduled to arrive Sunday, March 22, however one of the engines has failed so it might take a day or two longer. It has approximately 1,700 passengers on board including Stephen’s father. 

“I am also concerned because the cruise was supposed to end which might also cut off communication as passengers bought data packages that will expire. Hopefully they will be able to renew,” Stephen added. 

We will update this story as soon as we can.