Timeline: Grand Princess cruise ship docks at Port of Oakland after days at sea

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Grand Princess cruise ship docks at Port of Oakland
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Passengers disembarked the Grand Princess cruise ship after it docked at the Port of Oakland Monday afternoon. 21 people, the majority crew members, have tested positive for the coronavirus.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- After days at sea, a cruise ship carrying thousands of passengers and crew members, some with the novel coronavirus, docked at the Port of Oakland Monday, March 9, 2020.

As the ship approached Oakland, it passed under the Golden Gate and Bay bridges before reaching the port.

PHOTO GALLERY: Coronavirus-stricken 'Grand Princess' cruise ship arriving in San Francisco Bay

Dozens of passengers lined the ship balconies and railings as it inched closer to land.

ABC7 News was there as the ship approached and as passengers disembarked after their long-awaited arrival.

Here is a complete timeline of the ship's journey into the port, and the events that followed that day.

From getting the green light to docking at the port

3:30 a.m.

The cruise ship carrying at least 21 people infected with novel coronavirus is waiting for the green light to dock at the Port of Oakland today. Charter buses and disaster recovery equipment will be in place in Oakland when the Grand Princess arrives.

6 a.m.

Several buses are in place at the Port of Oakland as preparations continue for the arrival of the Grand Princess. Officials still have not released the exact time for when the ship will dock today.

7:30 a.m.

The Grand Princess cruise ship carrying at least 21 people infected with novel coronavirus is expected to dock at noon at the Port of Oakland, according to a port spokesman.

8:45 a.m.

The Grand Princess cruise ship is now visible from the San Francisco Bay.

10:45 a.m.

The Grand Princess cruise ship is now approaching the Golden Gate Bridge. The ship is still scheduled to dock at noon in Oakland.

11:02 a.m.

The Grand Princess cruise ship is under the Golden Gate Bridge.

11:15 a.m.

The Grand Princess cruise ship is near San Francisco's city coast.

11:32 a.m.

The Grand Princess cruise ship crosses under the Bay Bridge, heading to the Port of Oakland.

11:45 a.m.

The Grand Princess cruise ship has crossed under the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge and is now preparing to dock at the Port of Oakland.

12:15 p.m.

The Grand Princess cruise ship has docked at the Port of Oakland.

2:29 p.m.

A passenger from the Grand Princess is being taken away in an ambulance.

3:45 p.m.

Passengers are starting to disembark the Grand Princess cruise ship.

The wait is over

6:00 p.m.

While going under the Golden Gate Bridge, San Mateo resident, Maureen James cheered "Wohoooo, Oh my God. There are people on the Golden Gate Bridge clapping and waving at us. We do feel welcomed now. We get to come back to the Bay Area where we belong," said James. A moment that over 2,000 passengers pictured and finally lived today. All getting closer to land.

"Heartwarming. It's always good to come home after something like this? I can't explain it," said San Mateo resident, Bill James.

As the Grand Princess Cruise Ship kept getting closer to the Port of Oakland emotions ran high.

"Neighbors are shouting they're excited to see people and land. You made it," said Pacifica resident, Michelle Heckert.

Teresa Roberts from Oklahoma City, she's far from home but this is a good start.

"We hope we'll go to Lackland Air Force base in Texas because that would be closer to Oklahoma," said Roberts.

A joy that could be from the sky! SKY7 caught a glimpse of it.

"We're excited that you know we're not stuck in the middle of the ocean anymore," said Heckert.

87-year-old Adelina and Henry Serata have been confined to their room since Thursday, along with thousands around them. Their granddaughter Michelle Heckert has been their roommate and support. She even wrote a song about their experience.

Docking in the Port of Oakland is a victory, but not the final step.

"The concern is the unknown that we all still need to be tested and any of us could've made contact with the people who are infected," said James.

It's a thought that concerns many who just want to get tested and move on. The Millers are among many who are still waiting.

"They said the inside cabins are getting their luggage tags now and they'll be going off today. But I don't know that we are," said John Miller.

The ship has docked. Passengers are starting to disembark. But where do they go next?

6:30 p.m.

Nearly 1,000 of the 2,400 passengers on board the cruise are from California and many of those will be transported by bus to Travis Air Force Base for a two-week quarantine. This is not the first time Travis Air Force Base is housing people for quarantine. The first wave of evacuees were from Wuhan, China. They left the base on Feb. 20. The second wave were passengers on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan. ABC7 talked to one passenger on board the Grand Princess as it was heading into the bay.

On Sunday Gov. Gavin Newsom said it could take three days or longer to get passengers off the Grand Princess. Anyone who develops symptoms once they arrive at Travis Air Force Base will be taken and transferred off base to a medical facility. Presumably, if they don't show any signs they will be released after their two week quarantine. Others will travel to Miramar Naval Air Station in Southern California. Those who live out of the state and country will travel to a private terminal at the Oakland International Airport for travel to and quarantine in their home countries. The 1,100 crew members will return to sea with the Grand Princess to quarantine on-board.

Grand Princess passengers arrive at Oakland International airport

6:47 p.m.

Several busloads of passengers from the Grand Princess arrived at Oakland International airport for chartered flights to other locations. The buses were driven right onto the tarmac with a police escort so that no travelers at Oakland International would be potentially exposed to infected people.

Passengers are set to be flown to 4 different locations: Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, a military base in Texas, a military base in Georgia, and a location in Canada.

Sick passengers on board the cruise have been taken to local hospitals.

8:32 p.m.

Sick passengers from the cruise ship have been taken to local hospitals, but privacy rules means that we're not told which ones. However, medical facilities, in general, are stepping up their ability to care for coronavirus patients, as some in the community worry about when the situation will be contained.

"People do want to know what's going on," said infectious disease specialist Yvonne Maldonado, M.D., who is also a professor at Stanford University School of Medicine.

"They're hearing about it all the time, but I think panic and fear should not be something that we engage in right now."

Hospitals across the Bay Area have negative-pressure isolation rooms, which prevent germs from escaping. Stanford engineers are prepared to create new rooms at their facility, or to convert an entire ward, if necessary.

Crews worked into the night on the Grand Princess cruise ship

11:00 p.m.

Local, state, and federal crews worked into the nighttime hours on Monday. At least five people were loaded onto ambulances and taken to hospitals.

"I just wish that those passengers on the cruise liner...that everything works out for them and they're able to be reunited with their families," said Oakland city councilmember Larry Reid. Reid has been watching as the situation at the Port of Oakland has unfolded.

Mayor Libby Schaaf toured the area Monday evening as well tweeting that she was there to ensure that operations were running smoothly. Officials and cruise line employees say most of the passengers from California and most or all of those from Canada have been processed off the ship. Some in the community came to the port to show their support for those very passengers who had been on board the Grand Princess.

"We've been thinking a lot about the people on the ship," says Chris Vaeth who came to the port with his son. The two made a 'Welcome Home' sign.

"The little one was asking and he's been asking a lot about the story he's been hearing a lot about on the news and we thought panic is the enemy we're all concerned about the experience on the ship that people have been having and we feel for them."

But while operations appear to be running smoothly councilmember Reid is still angered that the city council wasn't involved in the decision to allow the cruise ship to dock in Oakland.

"West Oakland is a community that is undergoing a lot of transition those homes are less than a mile away."

While disembarkment from the ship has ended for the night, it will start back up Tuesday morning. That coverage begins here.