Princess Cruises Quarantines Guests in California, Cancels Sailing

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UPDATE: As of Thursday afternoon, testing was underway of passengers aboard the Grand Princess. During a press conference, the San Fransisco Department of Emergency Management said that once results were back, it would be determined where the ship would dock. Several places are being considered, including San Fransisco. The primary concern? The safety of the community surrounding the ship’s ultimate destination and those aboard.

Following the death by coronavirus of a former passenger, the Grand Princess is being held off the coast of California.

A number of ill passengers — as well as those who had been doing a back-to-back sailing — are being quarantined while they await the results of tests that will determine whether they’ve contracted the disease.

More Questions Than Answers

Grand Princess at Sea
Grand Princess at Sea

It’s unclear at this time exactly how the 71-year-old man, who became the first California resident to die of coronavirus, contracted the disease. Various reports indicate it is “likely” he was exposed to the virus on the ship’s sailing between San Francisco and Mexico, which took place from February 11 to 21.

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Once the ship returned from Mexico, it set sail for Hawaii. Princess reports that 62 passengers on the current cruise were doing back-to-back sailings and were thus potentially exposed to the passenger who died.

This is in addition to the thousands of passengers on the previous sailing, whom authorities are now attempting to track down to check on their condition.

Grand Princess at Sea
Grand Princess at sea (Photo via Princess Cruises)

In response, California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency. Meanwhile, the coast guard will be delivering coronavirus test kits to the ship via helicopter. Once a medical team administers the tests, the samples will be helicoptered to a lab in Richmond, California.

While the tests are being run, the 62 guests who had been on the previous voyage are being quarantined to their rooms out of what the cruise line refers to as “an abundance of caution.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that 10 crew members and 11 passengers are currently experiencing symptoms of what could be coronavirus.

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The paper also reports that Governor Newsom will not allow the ship to dock in San Francisco until those aboard have been tested and cleared.

According to a statement on the Princess Cruises website, “There are fewer than 100 guests and crew identified for testing, including all [back-to-back passengers], those guests and crew who have experienced influenza-like illness symptoms on this voyage, and guests currently under care for respiratory illness.”

The Ship’s Next Sailing Has Been Cancelled

According to the Times, many passengers aboard the ship found out what was going on not via the captain or any announcement but from media reports.

The website’s most recent update also indicates that the March 7 sailing of Grand Princess has been canceled. All guests will receive a full refund as well as a 100 percent future cruise credit.

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