Ruby Princess sails away from San Francisco without passengers who tested COVID positive

The cruise ship the Ruby Princess is currently sailing away from the Bay Area after dozens of passengers came down with COVID-19.

The Majestic Princess is now docked at the Pier 27, the same pier that was used by the Ruby Princess over the weekend, when at least 70 passengers were diagnosed with COVID following a 15-day cruise to the Panama Canal. 

"The symptoms aren't so bad," said Eva Mitchell, one of those who tested positive. "It takes about a half an hour, 40 minutes for the PCR test to come back and as soon as they find out, they empty out the hallways, so you can walk through without other passengers seeing you to get to the quarantine floor."

Mitchell and her husband say they're worried that COVID testing seems to be on an honor system. She suspects some passengers may not have tested to avoid having to quarantine and miss out on all the cruise activities; then got off the ship and headed for parts unknown. "All these people coming out to San Francisco to move on to their next destination, who are sick but never got tested," said Mitchell. "It's just worrisome."

Princess has issued a statement saying 100% of passengers were vaccinated, and while some positive cases were identified among passengers and crew; Princess says the cases were mild, and those passengers were isolated or quarantined. Those who were positive and hadn't completed the full isolation period will either return home or are isolating in hotels secured by the cruise line.

The Ruby Princess is now at sea, but passengers aboard the Majestic Princess say they've been waiting a long time to cruise again, and say they feel safe on board. "I was concerned," said Ann Como saying her husband encouraged her to go. "He was like 'we gotta start. We gotta start somewhere.' So, I said, 'OK, let's do it.'"

As for Mitchell, she and her husband are now home recovering from COVID. "This might be the last time we cruise until this whole pandemic's over," said Mitchell. "Although it was half full, it's still. I don't know how we got it."

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The Port of San Francisco has released a statement saying they've laid out a clear memorandum of agreement with cruise lines with strict COVID protocols in place, making the cruise lines responsible for isolating or quarantining passengers if they contract COVID at sea. As for the Ruby Princess is currently about 300 miles offshore headed for Honolulu, Hawaii.