Image copyright Jess Murgatroyd
Image caption Jess Murgatroyd has been working as a hairdresser on the Norwegian Gem since October

The only British woman stranded on a cruise ship off the Florida coast has said it is an “emotional rollercoaster” as she pleads to return home.

Jess Murgatroyd, from Bradford, has been working as a hairdresser on the Norwegian Gem since October.

The 21-year-old said the US authorities would not allow her to leave the ship due to the pandemic.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said it was monitoring the situation on the cruise liner.

Image copyright Jess Murgatroyd
Image caption The 21-year-old, who is stuck at sea near Miami, said “I just pray something will be sorted” in order to return home

Miss Murgatroyd, who is at sea near Miami, has been isolated in her cabin and says she is the only Briton among 200 staff – mainly South Africans and Europeans – left onboard after the passengers disembarked in March.

“The current situation is very strange; the [not knowing] is what kills you,” she said.

“I know the situation at home is still not great but that’s where my family is; during difficult times all I want to do is be home with them, but instead we are just by ourselves.”

She said her employer and the cruise liner were keeping “us informed to the best they can” and working to get staff home.

“Sometimes they don’t know [what’s going on]; it’s very stressful but we are just trying to manage.”

Image copyright Rachel Crowther
Image caption Jess’s mum, Rachel Crowther, said the “horrible” situation was “heartbreaking” for her and the family

She said the ship was not permitted to leave US waters despite there having been no cases of coronavirus onboard.

“I have the last charter flight next Friday and I just pray something will be sorted before then so I can make it.”

Her mother Rachel Crowther, 40, said: “I just want my baby back home.

“It’s just awful. It’s heartbreaking.”

Miss Crowther, also a hairdresser from Bradford, said she was “a nervous wreck” and the “horrible situation” was taking its toll on the whole family, including her own mother who was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.

“She was enjoying herself and we’ve been very proud of her. But I’d never thought it would be like this.”

Image copyright Rachel Crowther
Image caption Miss Crowther said the situation was taking its toll on Jess’s sisters, five-year-old Lottie and 13-year-old Hannah

The FCO said it was making representations to ensure British nationals were able to “return to the UK when safe to do so”.

It said cruise ship companies had a “clear legal responsibility” to look after crew members and to arrange for them to get home.

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