Grand Princess cruise disembarks all passengers, relocates after coronavirus cases

Places like the Colosseum in Rome, Grand Central Station in New York and St. Peters Square are now deserted in the wake of coronavirus.


All passengers and more than half the crew members from the beleaguered Grand Princess cruise ship have now gotten off the ship, Princess Cruises announced early Tuesday.

The Grand Princess cruise ship at long last departed the Port of Oakland in California and moved to a remote dock in San Francisco, where it will temporarily stay for remaining crew members to complete a 14-day-quarantine.

The Princess Cruises Cares Team is continuing to assist guests in quarantine by providing necessary items such as toilet paper, soap, coffee and baby food; escalating medication needs, locating misplaced luggage and holding passenger town hall conference calls to answer questions, the cruise line said in a press release.

The ship docked in Oakland on March 9 with 3,500 on board after reporting 21 coronavirus cases. The CDC [1]has since said the cruise ship resulted in 28 U.S. cases of the virus. 

More than 500 of the 1,100 crew members disembarked over the weekend and went home.

“We can confirm that Grand Princess is no longer docked in Oakland and is now anchored in the San Francisco bay. All passengers have disembarked. We will share additional information as soon as we can,” the cruise line stated in a message Monday shared by Princess spokesperson Alivia Owyoung Ender.

Princess said in a press release Sunday night: “The crew members disembarking undergo the same health screenings as guests from the ship, which continue to be managed by HHS and CDC health authorities. Crew members who are ill (for any reason) or symptomatic will not be allowed to fly via chartered aircraft. Crew members who are not symptomatic but from whom no charter flight is currently available will stay under quarantine on the ship. Those requiring elevated care will be moved to land-based medical facilities or HHS alternate care sites, depending on their condition.”

On Friday in the Rose Garden, President Donald Trump praised Vice President Mike Pence for the “tremendous success out in Oakland,” California, in coordinating the disembarkment from the Grand Princess[2], which had identified two passengers and 19 crew infected with the new coronavirus.

Princess had originally intended to keep all crew members not requiring hospitalization on the ship after it left the port, but the cruise line changed course as the situation evolved.

More: Cruise passengers under coronavirus quarantine say they lack food, basic medical attention[3]

The plan to depart the Port of Oakland was made in conjunction with The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the U.S. Coast Guard, according to a news release[4] by Robb Mayberry, a public information officer for California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

“Upon the ship’s departure, the Port of Oakland site will be fully remediated and decontaminated by immediately removing temporary structures and pressure washing the entire site with a bleach solution to disinfect it,” Mayberry added.

Passengers who disembarked the ship last week were taken to military bases to complete their 14-day quarantines. 

Cruise ship passengers under federal coronavirus quarantine told USA TODAY they were lacking food, medical attention and were being housed in unsanitary conditions.

Michelle Saunders and her 83-year-old grandmother, both from Illinois, have been waiting for medical attention and other basics since they were among the 2,000 evacuated from the ship. 

At Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia no one came by to check their temperature for nearly two days, Saunders told USA TODAY on Saturday – a standard protocol they were promised to help monitor for infection.  

Food was not delivered to their room for more than 12 hours after their arrival, she said. Their room had no towel and one small bar of soap, and she has been told there is no more, despite the constant public health reminders to wash hands. 

CDC spokesman Joe Smith told USA TODAY that as of Sunday night, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma have sent representatives to collect their residents from quarantine sites in California, Texas and Georgia so that they can complete their quarantines in their home states.

The ship’s saga began over a week ago when 21 people tested positive and it was discovered that 62 passengers had been on the ship at the same time as a California man who eventually died from the virus. The ship was diverted from San Francisco to the Port of Oakland, due to its proximity to a military base and an airport.

The Public Health Agency of Canada on Wednesday said that one positive case was found in a Canadian repatriated to the country after disembarking from the Grand Princess on Monday, the first day of disembarkation. That same day, two passengers were taken to hospitals along with their travel companions after testing positive Friday. 

Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff and Letitia Stein, USA TODAY; The Associated Press


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