RANDLEMAN, NC – Apryl Stinson’s green and black bags are packed.
“It’s still a wait and see game,” she said.
Apryl, her mom, daughter, and great-aunt, prepare to head to Miami for a cruise. But - there's one problem; Hurricane Matthew.
When news of the storm broke last week, Apryl said she temporarily considered cutting her losses. The four cruise tickets cost $1,600 and even though they have trip insurance, they wouldn’t be refunded unless the cruise line canceled.
“We’re not planning or canceling anything until Thursday night and we’ll decide for sure on Thursday night. And now, the closer it is to Thursday the more I think, no, we’re going. To me, it looks live everything is fine, Carnival Cruise hasn’t canceled, we’re going.”
It’ll take them at least 14 hours to drive from Randleman to Miami. Shelby Farrell, Apryl’s daughter, will first have to leave her home in Charleston, South Carolina, currently under a mandatory evacuation. They plan to drive to the western part of Florida, in hopes of bypassing flooding rains and hurricane force winds. The cruise departs from Miami with destinations of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
The center of Matthew passed over 100 miles from the east coast of Jamaica as a Cat 4 hurricane with winds around 145 mph. Jamaica was spared the brunt of the storm, but still had some flooding where some places received around 10 inches of rain.
The west coast of Florida will have scattered showers and storms on Friday with windy conditions. Winds will likely gust around 45 mph through the day.
“I have a lot of friends and family that aren’t on the trip saying why don’t y’all just cancel and reschedule and I’m like, we’ve been looking forward to this trip for a year and a half. I need a break. I’m ready for this vacation. I really need to get away for a while. I want to go!”
The trip is important to Apryl - who’s weathered a different type of storm. Two years ago, her marriage ended.
“The separation and divorce, of course, is hard,” said Apryl. “I was married 20 years. It’s a long time, so, that’s been really hard.”
Her mom, Cindy Richardson, decided to book a cruise for Apryl, to give her something to look forward to. At first Apryl was hesitant.
“Mom! I don’t even know what my life is going to be like in two years. Where am I going to be living, where am I going to be staying, what am I going to be doing?” Apryl remembered. “And she’s like ‘we’ll get the insurance to make sure it’ll be okay. She booked it and here we are and now we’re scared.”
Scared but hopeful Matthew will be kind and give Apryl the break she said she desperately needs.
Two decades of marriage over; twin boys in high school. Right now, she wants nothing more than to be with her family.
“It would just be nice to get away with my mom and daughter for awhile and my aunt,” Apryl said softly. “I know it can be and that is scary and I think well the worst thing for me might be some wind and rain. I’m like if it gets bad we can always stop and get a hotel.”
With a light laugh , Apryl added, “Even if we have to stop at Walmart till it’s better, we’ll find somewhere to stop until it gets better.”
Apryl said if they Carnival cancels the cruise, she and her family will simply find a different way to spend their time in Florida.