'We are still processing': Passengers reflect 1 year after COVID-19 outbreak on Grand Princess Cruise ship

Luz Pena Image
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Grand Princess COVID outbreak: Passengers reflect 1 year later
It's been one year since the Grand Princess Cruise ship coronavirus outbreak. Passengers, who were forced to quarantine on the ship, are telling their stories about what life has been like since.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- One year after boarding the Grand Princess Cruise ship from the San Francisco Bay, several passengers are still processing what happened to them as a COVID-19 outbreak on board forced them to quarantine.

TIMELINE: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area

Back in 2020, Laurie and John Miller became our eyes and ears inside the cruise ship after 19 crewmembers and two passengers tested positive for the virus. Early in the year, just days into their trip, the world was learning more about the deadly virus that would ultimately cut their trip short.

Luz Pena: "How long did it take you to process what you had gone through?"

Laurie Miller: "I think we are still processing. The first couple months we were home I was depressed and it was a dark time for me."

What's keeping the Millers positive is their seven-month-old grandson, Theo. Back when they were on board the ship their daughter was pregnant and they nicknamed their grandson "Pudge."

"He is a major mental health tool. I call him my Theo therapy," said Laurie Miller.

VIDEO: Grand Princess passenger says windowless ship quarantine was like solitary confinement

The Grand Princess cruise ship was keeping passengers under quarantine in their cabins as it made its way to the Port of Oakland with 21 people on board who tested positive for novel coronavirus.

Grand Princess Passengers have kept in touch and helped each other cope with life after quarantine through a Facebook group.

Luz Pena: "It was a completely different world (when you came out)."

Laurie Miller: "Oh, of course, and that was the biggest shock when we were in quarantine at Travis Air Force Base. We watched the news, but it didn't hit me until we got home and realized how shot down everything was."

San Francisco residents, Adelina and Henry Serata, captured the hearts of many as they danced and sang with their granddaughter Michelle Heckert on board the cruise ship while waiting to disembark.

VIDEO: This is what life aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship looked like

About 15 miles off shore, over 2,000 passengers aboard the Grand Princess Cruise ship are growing weary and some are turning their concerns into melodies.

We caught up with them today. Adelina was quick to let us know she's a year older and wiser now.

"Yesterday was my 88th birthday. Happy birthday! I had a lovely time," said Adelina Serata.

The Seratas say they've gotten closer as a family after this experience.

EXCLUSIVE: Bay Area couple describes 'strange trip' to Wuhan before COVID-19 officially reported

"I thought, 'My God to go through something like that, it's like history,'" said Adelina Serata.

Their granddaughter Michelle also had some updates, "I have some life changes, like couple different jobs and a boyfriend."

The Seratas are planning two cruise ship trips this year.

Adelina Serata: "The second one (trip) will be in November. We are going to Hawaii again because that was interrupted."

Luz Pena: "Are you telling me you're going to take the same trip that had you under quarantine? But a year later?"

Adelina Serata: "We've done that many times, but this time we are going to take her mother and father," pointing to her granddaughter Michelle seating in between them.

John and Laurie Miller are fully vaccinated and hope to go on a cruise ship with their Grand Princess credits in 2022.

Henry and Adelina Serata got their first COVID-19 vaccine dose and are scheduled to get their second shot soon. Moving forward, they would like for cruise ship companies to make it a requirement for passengers and staff to get vaccinated before traveling.

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