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The Grand Princess – carrying at least 21 passengers who tested positive for COVID-19 – will be allowed to dock in the Port of Oakland today (March 9), after spending several days docked in quarantine off the coast of San Francisco last week.
According to reports, the docking is expected to take place around 3 p.m. ET, at which point the approximately 2,400 passengers – including more than 200 Canadians – will begin disembarkation in order of priority, “as defined and directed by both state and local authorities. It is expected to be a multiple day process,” Princess said in a statement, adding that “the U.S. Coast Guard will be sending California Health & Human Services teams to assist with medical triage, screening and interviews, and prioritizing those who require the most acute care.”
READ MORE: COVID-19: Grand Princess quarantined in San Francisco
Passengers will then be transported to one of four U.S. military bases with charter flights to be arranged for international passengers.
The ship’s approximately 1,100 crew members will remain on board the ship as it departs the port, with a crew quarantine plan still being developed.
According to Princess, the ship had sailed roundtrip from San Francisco to Mexico with more than 2,500 people aboard (the majority of them California residents) from Feb. 11-21, then sailing for Hawaii before returning to California, where it remains quarantined with several passengers still aboard from the first leg of the cruise.
One passenger from the Feb. 11 sailing died Wednesday (March 4) in California – the first U.S. death outside of Washington State – and according to officials, the passenger, who had underlying respiratory issues, is believed to have been exposed to the virus on the San Francisco-Mexico part of the cruise. A second passenger from that leg of the cruise is being treated for the disease in Sonoma County.
Princess has contacted passengers from the Feb. 11 cruise and advised them to seek medical attention if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
A passenger from the first leg of the cruise also became Hawaii’s first COVID-19 case. According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the individual traveled home to Honolulu with no symptoms, becoming ill on March 1 and tested on March 6.
The individual is currently isolated at home and is being monitored daily by health officials.
Princess President addresses situation
The coronavirus outbreak has hit Princess Cruises particularly hard. In addition to the Grand Princess quarantine, the Diamond Princess was quarantined in Japan off the shore of Yokohama, with dozens of coronavirus cases. On March 8, two suspected cases of COVID-19 aboard Regal Princess, off the coast of Florida, came up negative, allowing the ship to proceed with docking in Port Everglades.
Last week, Princess Cruises President Jan Swartz posted a video update on the impact of the coronavirus situation to the cruise line.
Princess updates policy
To assist guests' decisions regarding their upcoming cruise vacations during the evolving worldwide COVID-19 situation, Princess Cruises is temporarily making some changes to its cancellation policy for cruises departing up to May 31, 2020.
Additionally, Princess is amending final payment on cruises sailing June 1 through June 30, 2020.
The details vary by departure date. The following applies to new and existing bookings on cruises and cruise tours in all markets globally.
|Date of Departure*
|April 3, 2020 or earlier
||Cancel up to 72 hours before sailing to receive Future Cruise Credit (FCC) for 100% of cancellation fees
|April 4, 2020 - May 31, 2020
||Cancel by March 31 and receive Future Cruise Credit for 100% of cancellation fees
|June 1, 2020 - June 30, 2020
||Final Payment moves to 60 days prior to sailing
*Date of departure is from the start date of cruise or cruisetour, whichever is earlier. Excludes charter cruises.
Guests who choose to keep their booking as currently scheduled for departures between March 6 and May 31 will receive the following Onboard Credit amounts:
- $100 USD / $150 AUD per stateroom for 3 and 4 day cruises
- $150 USD / $225 AUD per stateroom for 5 day cruises
- $200 USD / $300 AUD per stateroom for 6 day and longer cruises
For our guests booked on Crown Princess Mediterranean itineraries, we are finalizing some itinerary changes and a special offer that we will be sharing early next week.
Future Cruise Credits (FCC) are non-refundable and may be applied to any new or existing booking not yet paid in full on a Princess Cruise departing on or before Dec. 31, 2021.
The FCC does not have to be used on the same product that was cancelled and is non-transferable.
To ensure we cover guests who already made final payment, the revised final payment date means no cancellation fees will be assessed until 60 days prior to sailing.
FCCs will automatically be applied to each guest’s Captain Circle account after they have cancelled. FCCs will not be available instantly and may take up to 10 business days to be processed.
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