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Couple forced to quarantine on cruise ship even though they were vaccinated, tested negative for COVID

Taking a cruise right now, during the omicron surge, is risky. And even a negative COVID test doesn't guarantee you're free.

Cruise ships are sailing again this new year. But just because the cruise is going and you've been vaccinated, your trip can still turn into a nightmare.

Kelly and LuisCotto decided to take a 25th wedding anniversary trip abroad the Norwegian "Gem" before Christmas. But their celebration ended suddenly with a call and letter ordering them to quarantine in their cabin. 

"Went to one of their shows, and when we got back we got the call that we were quarantined because we came in contact with someone who was sick," said Kelly. 

They were stunned because they were vaccinated and passed two COVID tests.

"The rapid test came back negative, and so did the PCR test," Kelly said.

RELATED: CDC: All US cruise ships with passengers have reported COVID-19 cases

But for the next four days, the Cottos said they became house prisoners. 

"The hard part was when we docked in Bermuda because we knew we weren't getting off," said Luis. "When you get there and you can't leave the ship, it's not a great night."

So can a cruise line force you to stay in a tiny cabin and bathroom for days, even though you don't have COVID?

Turns out cruise ships on the open sea can make their own laws.

"Basically you give up a lot of rights when you get on a cruise ship. The Captain has the final say on everything," said Michelle Couch Friedman, executive director of the consumer group Elliott Advocacy.

Friedman is trying to get the Cottos a refund. 

A spokesperson told Elliott Advocacy, "Due to Bermuda's policies, all guests identified as a close contact with an individual with COVID-19 must be quarantined until the end of the voyage."

RELATED: Royal Caribbean cancels cruises on 4 ships because of COVID-19 surge worldwide

So what should travelers do?

Friedman said, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you may want to wait a few months to take that cruise.

"Right now, with all the variants, the CDC says you shouldn't be cruising right now," said Friedman.

Kelly and Luis now want others to know the risk of having your trip ruined so you don't waste your money.