Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you make the most of staying home.
Visit the hub

Canadian passengers are disembarked from the Grand Princess cruise ship at the Port of Oakland in California on March 9, 2020.

JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images

Hundreds of Canadians left stranded on a California cruise ship were set to return home Monday night as the federal Public Health Agency warned all Canadians to avoid cruise travel amid a growing global outbreak of COVID-19.

The Grand Princess finally docked in Oakland on Monday afternoon after nearly five days spent sitting in the waters off the Northern California coast. California officials had refused to allow the ship to dock at its regular terminal in San Francisco because of fears that some aboard had contracted the novel coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 infection. At least 21 people – 19 crew and two passengers – have since tested positive for the virus.

All 230 Canadians on board the ship were set to disembark midafternoon Monday and ordered to wear thin face masks as they left. A crew announcement later Monday indicated all Canadians had left the ship.

Story continues below advertisement

Those who cleared medical screenings were expecting to be bused to an airport hangar in Oakland and then board a plane later that evening. They were set to arrive at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, an air base in Eastern Ontario, at 5:15 a.m. Tuesday to start a 14-day quarantine. Passengers who failed medical screenings would be treated in U.S. health-care facilities before they would be allowed to return home, Canadian officials said.

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said Monday that the cruise line would shoulder the cost of repatriating Canadian passengers. Mr. Champagne said it was “very exceptional circumstances” that prompted the federal government to step in to help, including a request from the U.S. government and the need to act to prevent the spread of disease in North America.

Coronavirus guide: The latest news on COVID-19 and the toll it’s taking around the world

What can I do about COVID-19? A guide for Canadians of what’s helpful, and what’s not

Everything you need to know about the coronavirus, from face masks to travel risks

Princess Cruises, operated by Florida-based Carnival Corp., said it would give passengers on the ship full refunds for their cruise and other travel expenses, including most on-board purchases and gratuities. The company said it would also offer passengers a credit for a free cruise.

Monday marked the beginning of the end of the multiday ordeal for the 3,500 passengers and crew who were aboard the Grand Princess for a 15-day Hawaiian cruise that was cut short after the crew learned that a California man who was on the ship for a previous voyage to Mexico in February had died after contracting the virus.

Are you under quarantine or self-isolation due to coronavirus? To share your experience, email tips@globeandmail.com

Health authorities in several provinces have tied at least nine cases of COVID-19 to cruise-ship travel, most of them to the Grand Princess. They include four cases in Alberta, two in British Columbia, two in Ontario and one in Quebec. At least two other Princess cruise ships have been held off the coast of Florida in recent days while they awaited test results from crew who had transferred from the Grand Princess.

Story continues below advertisement

The growing concern over outbreaks of COVID-19 on cruise ships prompted Canada’s chief public health officer Theresa Tam to officially recommend Monday that Canadians avoid all cruise travel.

“Cruise ships have passengers from around the world who may be arriving from areas with known or unknown spread of the novel coronavirus,” Dr. Tam said. “The virus can spread quickly on board cruise ships due to the close contact between passengers.”

The U.S. State Department issued a similar advisory against cruise travel Sunday.

But Canadian passengers will likely have to wait another two weeks to see their family members.

HANDOUT/AFP/Getty Images

On the Grand Princess, several Canadian passengers said they were expecting to remain on board for at least another day. California officials previously announced plans to prioritize disembarking sick passengers first, followed by local California residents. Passengers were surprised to get a notice from the ship’s crew at noon asking them to immediately pack up their belongings and be ready to leave within hours.

Former Ontario attorney-general John Gerretsen, who has been confined to an interior cabin since Thursday, said he finally got to take a 30-minute walk on the ship’s deck to get fresh air Monday morning before he and his wife rushed to pack their bags.

Retired Toronto teacher Myra Manly, travelling with her husband, also packed her bags hastily, anxious to get home. “I never appreciated so much how much I want to be back in Canada," she said. “I just want to get home and hug my grandchildren. That’s all I want. Every time I think of them I start crying.”

Story continues below advertisement

But Canadian passengers will likely have to wait another two weeks to see their family members, as federal officials have told the ship’s passengers that they won’t be allowed to have visitors during their two-week quarantine in Trenton. Ms. Manly, who was not experiencing any flu-like symptoms, said she wasn’t worried about the prospect of spending another two weeks confined to a military base with fellow passengers. “My husband said look at it like you’re going back to camp,” she said.

With reports from Laura Stone, James Keller and Adrian Morrow

In the interests of public health and safety, our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access. However, The Globe depends on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe to globeandmail.com. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

Your subscription helps The Globe and Mail provide readers with critical news at a critical time. Thank you for your continued support. We also hope you will share important coronavirus news articles with your friends and family. In the interest of public health and safety, all our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access.

Related topics

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies