The Grand Princess cruise ship spent several days in limbo off the California coast last week, after 21 people aboard the ship tested positive and one former passenger died from the novel coronavirus. After days of quarantine, the ship finally docked in the Port of Oakland, California around noon on Monday. However, as USA Today reports, passengers weren’t unloaded until Tuesday and many were nervous about the disembarkation process.
Donna LaGesse, who was on board the ship with her sister-in-law, Jackie Eilers, spoke about the process, saying they have not been given much information about their next steps.
“We understand that we are going one of two places probably but we have not received anything in writing or anything like that to say where we’re going or if we’re even leaving today.”
Though she’s uncomfortable with the idea of having to enter quarantine on land, she said she understands the extra precaution. What she’s most nervous about is the lack of communication and the possibility that she and Eilers may be separated once they leave the ship.
Another passenger, 77-year-old Beryl Ward, said they are trying to remain calm and “stay positive,” but that it is getting more difficult.
“They can’t make up their minds how to keep us safe,” she said.
Still, other passengers have decided to take legal action. Florida residents and current Grand Princess cruise ship passengers Ronald and Eva Weissberger are suing the cruise line for negligence. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, alleges that the cruise line did not take “all necessary precautions to keep its passengers and crew” safe amid the spread of the coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship — which was quarantined off the coast of Japan — in February. As USA Today reports, all passengers were off the ship by March 1. The Weissbergers allege they would not have boarded the ship if they had been aware of the risks of exposure. They are also seeking $1 million in damages.
Negin Kamali, a spokesperson for Princess Cruises, addressed the situation, saying they have not currently been served with a lawsuit and are unable to comment on “any pending litigation.”
“Princess has been sensitive to the difficulties the COVID-19 outbreak has caused to our guests and crew,” Kamali said, adding that their response to the virus outbreak has been to focus on the “well-being” of their passengers and their crew “within the parameters mandated” by the government.