SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — A large cruise ship anchored in the middle of the San Francisco Bay near the Bay Bridge had some observers wondering if another COVID outbreak had occurred onboard.
The Caribbean Princess dropped off all passengers in San Francisco on Sunday, navigated away from the docks, and remained in the Bay overnight into Monday morning.
Princess Cruises spokeswoman Negin Kamali explained that the crew decided to stay in the calm waters of the Bay to wait out a “large weather system to the north of San Francisco.”
The Caribbean Princess departed on Monday morning without any passengers onboard, Kamali said.
“It is headed to Oregon for a planned dry dock,” Kamali said.
The cruise line did not have any reports of COVID-19 cases from the Caribbean Princess’ most recent voyage.
But a passenger who was on the Caribbean Princess contacted KRON4 Monday evening and said there were in fact COVID cases onboard the ship, and the Canada-bound cruise was cut short.
“We all received a letter informing us of the positive cases for both passengers and the crew. The letter told us we had to start wearing KN95 masks in all areas of the ship. Both inside and outside. Previous to the letter, masks were not required. In fact every room was delivered a packet with 2 masks to start wearing the day of the letter,” passenger Diana Duda said.
“Princess refused to let passengers know how many people were involved. Princess would not tell the crew anything because they were afraid the crew would notify passengers. This information was relayed to us by different crew members,” Duda said.
Passengers said the cruise was originally scheduled to continue from San Francisco to Canada, with more stops in Victoria and Vancouver this week.
Instead, all passengers were told to leave the Caribbean Princess at the docks in San Francisco and find alternative travel for getting back home.
“The cruise was supposed to leave San Francisco with passengers on the ship heading to Canada. All these passengers had to scramble at the last minute to find these flights home. Why? Canada refused the ship to dock in Vancouver because of the positive cases on the ship,” Duda told KRON4.
A second passenger, Ally Carol, also said the cruise line was tight-lipped about the presence of COVID cases onboard, according to the Times Colonist.
Not everyone on board was given a COVID test before they disembarked in San Francisco, Carol told the Times Colonist.
A third passenger told the Times Colonist that Princess Cruises paid for passengers’ plane tickets for getting home, but he believes it was “irresponsible” to send people to San Francisco airports without knowing who, or how many people, had COVID.
The cruise line company did not immediately respond to further inquires from KRON4 Monday night.
On March 28 another ship, the Ruby Princess, returned to San Francisco from a 15-day Panama Canal cruise with some passengers and crew members infected with COVID. All guests and crew on the ship were fully vaccinated, the cruise line said, and those infected were either asymptomatic or showed mild symptoms.