Coronavirus: More than 1,000 passengers wait to disembark Grand Princess at Port of Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Getting people off the Grand Princess cruise ship at the Port of Oakland is taking a little bit longer than expected. Some passengers are still on board, and others have had to wait on charter buses for long periods of time before leaving.

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March 11, 2020
5 a.m.
More passengers waiting to disembark Grand Princess
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More than 1,000 passengers are still on the Grand Princess cruise ship waiting to disembark.


More than 1,000 passengers are still on the Grand Princess cruise ship waiting to disembark. The ship has been docked at the Port of Oakland since Monday. As of last night, about 1,400 passengers have gotten off of the ship.

Some people are showing mild symptoms of coronavirus. Those who are not sick enough to need hospital care, but may be contagious, are being quarantined in hotels in San Mateo and Monterey counties. Governor Newsom says the hotels are secure and segregated from the general public.

Passengers from California, who appeared healthy, were taken to Travis Air Force Base for quarantine.

March 10, 2020

11:00 p.m.

Frustration growing for passengers stuck another night on Grand Princess



Tuesday night frustrations were building among some passengers who were on and are on the Grand Princess cruise ship. Many had to wait for long periods of time on charter buses after they disembarked from the ship. Others on board say the food is no longer good. They're hoping they can finally leave tomorrow morning.
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Tuesday night frustrations were building among some passengers who were on and are on the Grand Princess cruise ship. Many had to wait for long periods of time on charter buses after they disembarked from the ship. Others on board say the food is no longer good.



8:30 p.m.

More passengers disembark Grand Princess



A total of 1,406 people have left the cruise ship. About 1,000 more will disembark Wednesday.


7 p.m.

'It feels so isolating': Passengers headed to quarantine



Some passengers on board the Grand Princess were bused to Oakland International Airport today while many more wait their turn.

Officials in hazmat suits greeted the disembarked passengers for the next leg of their journey, a two-week coronavirus quarantine.

Out of state passengers are being taken to military bases in Georgia and Texas.

The disembarking process is expected to continue through the week.

"We have not received any luggage tags yet or instructions but we're waiting patiently," said Oklahoma resident Teresa Roberts.

Teresa Roberts and her husband were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

"Our bags are packed and ready to go," said Roberts. "It feels so isolating because we can see people, we know people are there we see helicopters we see our Coast Guard but gosh we're here we're on the ship still."

The couple is thankful for what comforts they do have including hot meals.

"It's great food, we just need more exercise," said Roberts. "It feels good to have contact with the outside world and it feels good to talk to you and your crew and just know that Californians are really supporting us and we're very thankful for that."

An unlikely trip for so many, that's not over yet.

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6:45 p.m.

Passengers 'reaching the end of their patience'


Some passengers on board the Grand Princess are calling 9-1-1 for help.

"We have received information that guest have been calling 911 emergency numbers, people do not do this," announced Captain Smith to all passengers.

Since Thursday, thousands aboard the Grand Princess Cruise ship have been in confined rooms.

"Everybody on the ship is just kind of reaching the end of their patience of when they need something they want someone to act and not be told - 'well we can't take care of that right now.' So they call 911 to get some actions," said passenger John Miller.

Pittsburg resident Ryan Ashbaker was in one of the inner cabins inside the Grand Princes and is now in quarantine at Travis Air Force Base.

Ashbaker raised concerns about the quarantine process and the effectiveness of these methods.

"Why were we contained in our rooms together in the ship if they're just going to have us intermingle with each other again?" said Ashbaker.

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Since Thursday, thousands aboard the Grand Princess Cruise ship have been in confined rooms and some on board are calling 9-1-1 for help.



4 p.m.

Passengers continue disembarking from ship


Tents and buses are still dockside along the Grand Princess cruise ship at the Port of Oakland Tuesday night as people continue to exit the ship.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said 269 people had exited the ship on Tuesday as of 1 p.m. with the majority going to Travis Air Force Base and the rest heading to Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas.

What passengers are saying


One Santa Rosa woman and her family described their accommodations at Travis Air Force Base as a comfortable suite or apartment where she said lunch and chilled water bottles were waiting for them.

One of the stranded passengers still on board the ship, Carolyn Wright, told ABC7 news that she is totally in the dark with no information on when she'd get off the ship or where she would be taken to.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and has pets to take care of and is self-employed so every day she's gone she's losing her income stream.

She's also worried about the herding or crowding of people she's witnessed as they leave the ship when they were originally told to keep a 6 foot distance from each other.

A total of 234 Canadians also left the ship on Monday and were transported to a chartered aircraft for repatriation.

The problem is thousands more are still aboard.

2:43 p.m.

Nevada Passengers get news from Governor about returning home



Nevada passengers on the Grand Princess cruise received an e-mail from Governor Sisolak letting them know the latest about returning home. "You will receive a call today from your local health authority to evaluate your home situation and ensure that you are prepared for the required isolation period." The Governor also informed them that federal authorities would be responsible for determining the timing of a flight back to Nevada for the passengers.

1:33 p.m.

Unloaded passengers arrive at Oakland Airport for Charter flights



Several busloads of passengers arrived at Oakland International Airport to board charter flights to their quarantine locations. Reporter Melanie Woodrow documented their journey: "As passengers get off the buses they have the opportunity to wash their hands and use the restroom before getting on the plane. Officials are gloved, masked and in head to toe gear."

12:15 p.m.

Unloading cruise ship passengers a slow process in Oakland

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It has been a slow process for passengers who are disembarking from the Grand Princess cruise ship at the Port of Oakland.



The captain of the Grand Princess Cruise ship announced Tuesday morning that they disembarked 407 of the 2,422 passengers on Monday in Oakland. Tuesday's announcement carried with it some frustration.

"We have not been receiving timely nor accurate information from the government agencies who have developed and are now managing the disembarkment plan. It has been literally impossible for me to guide you on their processes. Thus far they have shared information about a plan, procedures and protocol only to see it change without notice," the captain said over the loudspeaker.

He said passengers from California and the UK will be the first ones released Tuesday.

The passengers were given luggage tags and will be called by the color of their tag. The groups are red, silver, light blue, yellow, gold and aqua.



By 11 a.m. Tuesday, they were on red 1, according to passenger Teresa Johnson. She received an aqua card.

Carol Reid's card is light blue 3.

"Hopefully we will be getting off today and taken to Travis Air Force Base," she said. That is one of four military bases where passengers will be quarantined for two weeks.

Carol said she and her husband brought extra medication in case something happened, but not enough to get through the quarantine. They are waiting on more prescriptions to arrive.

She and her husband love to cruise but says this experience has tested that love a bit.

"We may limit it for a while. I am still trying to cancel a Carnival Cruise but they are having telephone problems," she said.

The passengers are being unloaded at the Port of Oakland. They are being screened in medical tents and then sent back to their home country or to US military bases to be quarantined. At least 21 people on the ship are known to have the corona virus.

9:45 a.m.

More passengers disembark from Grand Princess

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Passengers are continuing to disembark from the Grand Princess at the Port of Oakland.


The captain of the Grand Princess says 407 passengers disembarked yesterday from the ship. He says all remaining Californians will be offloaded today along with U.K. residents who will board a chartered flight to Europe today.

7:30 a.m.

More passengers to disembark from the Grand Princess today

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Another batch of passengers are preparing to leave the Grand Princess cruise ship at the Port of Oakland today.


The Grand Princess cruise ship remains docked at the Port of Oakland's Outer Harbor Terminal, far away from Alameda, Oakland's Jack London Square and the Estuary.

There are still people on board that ship, they couldn't get everyone off yesterday so they will work on it again today.

Passengers ABC7 News talked to say it still feels good to be docked. They cheered as the ship crossed under the Golden Gate Bridge just after 11 a.m. yesterday.

They are processing each passenger in a medical tent- some were taken to hospitals, others to different military bases to be quarantined.

The passengers have been quarantined in their rooms for four days. ABC7 News talked to one who didn't have a balcony or window, and at times didn't know if it was day or night

"You lose track of time. Do a lot of TV watching, a lot of internet reading, a lot of just thinking. It's an experience I've never had before. It's almost like you're in solitary confinement except when somebody knocks on the door and brings you your food," said Tracy Bibb, passenger

We talked to one family that was told they were getting off last night, only to be told to go back to their room and wait for today. We are hearing about a lot of movies being watched, games being played, even songs being written to pass the time.

The captain says breakfast will start at 6 a.m. and they will start letting people off again at 8 a.m. They hope to empty the ship by the end of the day.

March 9, 2020

11:00 p.m.

Crews are working into the night on the Grand Princess cruise ship


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Local, state, and federal crews worked into the nighttime hours on Monday.


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.

7 p.m.

Where are the passengers going?


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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.



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.

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


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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.



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.

6:47 p.m.

Grand Princess passengers arrive at Oakland International airport


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Several busloads of passengers from the Grand Princess arrived at Oakland International airport for chartered flights to other locations.



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.

6:00 p.m.

The wait is over.


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



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 been 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.

Luz: "You have your granddaughter with you to lean on"

Serata: "Yeah and she entertain us a lot. We did the Zumba today and even grandpa got up and did it,"

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.

3:45 p.m.
Passengers are starting to disembark the Grand Princess cruise ship.


2:29 p.m.
A passenger from the Grand Princess is being taken away in an ambulance.
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The Grand Princess cruise ship carrying at least 21 people infected with coronavirus has docked at the Port of Oakland.



12:15 p.m.
The Grand Princess cruise ship has docked at 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.

11:32 a.m.
The Grand Princess cruise ship crosses under the Bay Bridge, heading to the Port of Oakland.
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The Grand Princess cruise ship carrying at least 21 people infected with coronavirus is expected to dock at the Port of Oakland today.


11:15 a.m.
The Grand Princess cruise ship is near San Francisco's city coast.
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The Grand Princess cruise ship carrying at least 21 people infected with coronavirus is expected to dock at the Port of Oakland today.



11:02 a.m.
The Grand Princess cruise ship is under the Golden Gate Bridge.
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The Grand Princess cruise ship carrying at least 21 people infected with coronavirus is expected to dock at the Port of Oakland today.



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.
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The Grand Princess cruise ship carrying at least 21 people infected with coronavirus is expected to dock at the Port of Oakland today.



8:45 a.m.
The Grand Princess cruise ship is now visible from the San Francisco Bay.

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.

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.

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.

MARCH 8, 2020
11:00 p.m.

Many Oakland residents are worried about the docking of the cruise ship in their city


The ship carries at least 21 people diagnosed with novel coronavirus and is expected to arrive Monday - Not everyone is happy about the charter buses waiting at the Port of Oakland. Many aren't comfortable knowing that several people with COVID-19 will be deboarding with so many others. Some say they still don't understand why this is happening in Oakland, and not in San Francisco or elsewhere.

10:40 a.m

Passengers to undergo two week quarantine after disembarking ship in Oakland


Authorities say there are almost 1,000 Californians aboard the ship and they will be quarantined for 14 days at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield and Miramar Air Station in San Diego. Passengers from other states will spend 2 weeks at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas or Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services say foreign passengers will be repatriated to their respective countries.

6:40 a.m.

CAL OES gives new details about cruise expected to dock in Oakland


The ship will be docked in Oakland only as long as it takes passengers to disembark, according to information released Sunday morning by the California Office of Emergency Services. That process could take days.
MARCH 7, 2020

10:30 p.m.

The ship is expected to dock at the Port of Oakland on Monday, the CDC says



The exact time is to be determined. At first, passengers on board said the captain announced the ship would dock Sunday afternoon. However, the CDC says "further modifications of the plan are necessary and will impact the arrival of the ship. The ship will now arrive in the Port of Oakland on Monday, time TBD."

"Agreement has been reached," said the John Harry Smith, captain of the Grand Princess Cruise ship. The Grand Princess Cruise ship will begin the disembarking process in the Port of Oakland on Monday.

"Guest who require acute medical treatment and hospitalization will be transported to health care facilities in California," said Captain Smith. California residents will be taken to a federally operated facility within the state for testing and isolation.

Non-Californians will be transported by the federal government to facilities in other states. Crew members will be quarantined and treated aboard the ship, according to Princess Cruises.

10 a.m.

U.S. Coast Guard helps evacuate "critically ill guest" evacuated from ship and brings protective supplies


A "critically ill guest" was evacuated from the ship for medical issues unrelated to COVID-19 with help from the U.S. Coast Guard, the captain announced Saturday Morning.

The captain also confirmed that personal protective equipment, which included gloves and masks, were dropped off by the U.S. Coast Guard Friday night.

VIDEO: Watch as 2 California Air National Guard helicopters drop off COVID-19 testing kits
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The Department of Defense has released new video giving an inside look at the daring mission to deliver several tests kits to the Princess cruise ship off the coast of California.



MARCH 6, 2020

2:30 p.m.

21 people test positive for COVID-19 on Grand Princess cruise


Vice President Mike Pence said Friday afternoon that 19 crew members and two passengers on board the Grand Princess cruise ship have tested positive for the coronavirus. This comes after 46 people were tested Thursday for the virus.

One of the tests administered was inconclusive, the vice president said.


As promised, the first passenger off the Grand Princess were the ill, presumable the 21 people who tested positive for coronavirus, most of them crew members.

Just after noon, the huge ship inched into Berth 22 at the Port of Oakland, a berth normally reserved for cargo ships.
Dozens of passengers lined the balconies and railings as their ship slowly came in.

As the tug boats guided the mammoth boat into its temporary home, on shore, emergency workers in hazmat suits, buses and ambulances prepared to greet them.

"It's fairly close to us. It's just a few hundred yards from us," said Bill Aboudi, the owner of AB Trucking, a facility just down Burma Road on the other side of the water from the Grand Princess. "But then as you see the emergency response and everything involved, you know they're taking care of everything."
About 1000 of the 2400 total passengers are from California. Many of those will be transported by bus to Travis Air Force Base for a 14-day 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 1100 crew members will return to sea with the Grand Princess to quarantine on-board.

Almost as soon as the Grand Princess docked in Oakland, members of the public lined the roadway, trying to get a look a ship and a voyage that ended in a way few could imagine.

"It's just too bad it's kind of ending up this way," said Laura Milstead, who lives in Walnut Creek. "These poor people probably saved up for years to go on a beautiful cruise and this is not how they wanted it to end. So we feel kind of sad. As it was pulling in I was thinking that's a lonely ship coming in."
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