‘Surreal’: Cruise ship performer from KC finally home after months at sea during pandemic | FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A cruise ship performer from the metro is thankful to be home after a two-month experience he never expected.

Willis White is no stranger to the stage. The singer, who’s performed on Broadway, now travels the world with Princess Cruises.

But at the end of February, his newest adventure took an unexpected turn.

“It’s a little bit surreal because you can’t believe the entire world is shutting down,” White said.

White said around March 10, passengers were able to disembark the ship, but he and other employees stayed on board. 

“I did not feel unsafe on my particular vessel,” White said. “I felt safe, healthy, provided for, and I can say that unequivocally.”

He said there was anxiety, restlessness and uncertainty, but he used his time to work on projects.

For two months, he waited to come home and finally disembarked May 9. He said the process to get home was long, but once things were in place it was a quick process.

“There was an element of certainty,” White said. “That first time when I actually got on soil, touching the ground, a sense of finality, of like, ‘OK, it’s time to adjust to the new normal.’”

White said he’s grateful to be back in Kansas City but is thinking of his coworkers who are still waiting to come home. Some employees are still figuring out how to get back to their home countries and their ability to travel during the pandemic.

“I just want to tell them to stay encouraged,” White said. “I hope if anyone who has family members out there that are still waiting that possibly, you know, that they reach out to them. And you know, it does mean a lot to have that sense of connection.”

He said he believes the cruise industry will adjust and hopes to get back to entertaining travelers as soon as it’s safe. 

“We’re all trying to make it through this and just sending a lot of love to anybody who just may be struggling, even here, domestically, as we are practicing the social distance, that we’re in this together,” White said.

He said when he got home, he was happy to sleep in his bed for about two days — and he’s looking forward to having some burnt ends soon.



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