Coronavirus: Couple's 'incredible' virtual New York trip

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Barbara and Ed HigginsImage source, Alex Ozansoy
Image caption,
Barbara and Ed Higgins should have been on the cruise ship in person

A couple whose 50th anniversary trip to New York was cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak were given an "incredible" virtual holiday instead.

Ed and Barbara Higgins, from Norfolk, had been due to fly on out 9 May and sail back on the Queen Mary 2.

However, their family did not want them to miss out, so, as the EDP reported, they sent an itinerary, online tours, special dinners and mocked-up photos.

The couple said their virtual trip "brought tears of joy to our eyes".

Mr Higgins said the trip, which they booked 18 months ago, was supposed to be the "holiday of a lifetime".

"The day we were due to fly, we got an email from our daughter with a link to an itinerary and films and videos of the places we ought to have been visiting in person," Mrs Higgins told the BBC.

Image source, Alex Ozansoy
Image caption,
The couple were "pictured" relaxing on board the cruise ship
Image source, Alex Ozansoy
Image caption,
The couple's daughter superimposed her parents on to various locations on their holiday itinerary

Alex Ozansoy and her sister Anna Griffiths recreated the trip for their parents to enjoy at their Aylsham home.

"It had instructions about where we would go each day and links to virtual tours so we could walk through Times Square, watch a Broadway musical or have a special meal," Mrs Higgins said.

"Mum had been so excited, she'd bought new dresses and everything, so we told our parents to dress up at home, and that meals would be delivered, including afternoon tea which they were to take on board the cruise ship," said Mrs Ozansoy.

She even superimposed pictures of her parents on to various locations on the ship.

Image source, Barbara Higgins
Image caption,
Afternoon tea and delivered dinners were all part of the itinerary arranged for the couple - in their own home
Image source, Alex Ozansoy
Image caption,
While "on board", Mrs Higgins took a virtual "towel art" class and made this - it's a dog

The Higginses described the virtual trip as "very unexpected, but quite incredible".

Mrs Ozansoy added: "It broke my heart when they couldn't go, but Dad said, because of what we had done, it was probably more memorable than if they had actually been there."

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