Couple caught in COVID outbreak on cruise ship


(NewsNation) — A couple who tested positive for COVID-19 onboard a cruise ship says they felt abandoned by the staff while they recovered.

In March 2020, as the Grand Princess cruise ship docked off the coast of Northern California with an outbreak of COVID-19, veteran cruisers Ted and Anne Bowman watched the plight of passengers and crew members with a mix of horror and relief. The couple themselves had been on the same boat just weeks before the outbreak and felt lucky to have left the ship unscathed.

Two years later, they decided it was safe to cruise again and took off on their 40th trip with Princess Cruises. On March 27, they boarded the Ruby Princess in San Francisco. Four days later, the cruise made it to Hawaii, but Ted made his way to the ship’s medical office.

With a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, Ted says he was told to pack up his things and move to an isolated room. Eventually, Anne tested positive for the virus and was also shifted to the different deck of the ship.

They say their time in isolation was miserable with hourslong waits to order food and receive deliveries, along with no communication from medical personnel.

“I was very depressed. I wasn’t sleeping well. And I just felt that this is no way to treat somebody who’s been sailing with a cruise line for 22 years,” Ted said.

Their feeling of abandonment was clear to them, but they say more and more people were being added to isolation.

“We think it was like 200 or more,” Anne said.

Princess Cruises did not confirm how many people tested positive for the virus. However, they did send a statement acknowledging that the Hawaii cruise had some positive cases among guests and staff.

According to news reports from late March, the same ship had the same problem two weeks before the Hawaii cruise. Some crew members and passengers tested positive on the Ruby Princess trip from San Francisco to the Panama Canal. And hours after returning to San Francisco, the ship took off on a 15-day trip to Hawaii — the Bowman’s trip.

The cruising couple says they wish they’d had that information before boarding the ship.

“With our risk factor being what it is, and especially with Anne being asthmatic, we probably would have declined,” Ted said.

According to Princess Cruises, 100% of the guests and crew members on board the Bowmans’ cruise were vaccinated and all protocols the cruise line has established in case of a COVID outbreak were followed.

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