It's been just over one year since Rose and Greg Yerex were stuck on a cruise ship in Japan, just as concerns about a new virus were emerging.

The Port Dover couple were among thousands of people forced to quarantine in their rooms on the Diamond Princess after it was discovered that someone on board had tested positive for what was then known only as "the coronavirus".

"At least we can get some fresh air by opening our balcony door and get some light in," Rose said at the time. "But there's not a lot of room to pace the floor in here."

At the time, it wasn't officially named COVID-19, and there were only three known cases in Ontario.

Rose says they became well-acquainted with it as the situation changed suddenly over night.

"It wasn't really until I guess the evening of the fourth they said 'we're encouraging you to stay in your room', but we were still able to walk around," she said. "Then 6:30 the next morning it was like if you are in your cabin stay there and if you're out somewhere get to your cabin right now."

The couple was on the ship for two weeks and received some distressing news right before the lockdown was lifted on Feb. 18.

"This morning I got news that I tested positive," said Gregat the time. "They told me to pack a small bag and be ready to go."

Rose tested positive for coronavirus not long after her husband.

The two spent roughly two more weeks in a hospital in Japan and say they were asymptomatic the entire time.

After finally testing negative, they were able to return home to Port Dover, only to be greeted by a rapidly changing situation in their home country.

"We got back at the beginning of March and things were still relatively normal," said Rose. "We were still under a 14-day quarantine, so by the time that was done and we were ready to step out and get back to life as 'normal', that's kind of when it stopped."

The couple found joy in their hobbies during the Ontario lockdowns. Greg was busy building a car, while Rose worked on her music.

Both of them play in a musical trio and look forward to performing more in the future when it's safe.

They're also planning on going on a cruise again, with a tentative booking for fall of 2022.

Rose says there's one lesson that stands out from their pandemic experiences.

"Patience," she said. "Just learning patience, because there's nothing we can really do to change things.

"All we can do is do what we have to do to stay safe and have that patience to hope one day we'll get through the end of the tunnel."

Rose adds that the hardest part of COVID-19 in Canada is missing out on direct social interactions with friends and family.