It’s Sunday evening, April 3rd as I write this from the Grand Hyatt Hotel in the Union Square district of San Francisco. This is just a quick post update about our whereabouts since our cruise itinerary changed due to Princess canceling the remaining 4 nights of the cruise we were booked on, and we are no longer sailing onward to Vancouver.
My last post was early into our Caribbean Princess 19 day cruise, but as the internet was quite slow and worse as we sailed on, uploading lots of photos was impossible, so I paused the blog until now. We had a WONDERFUL trip, and I will update the cruise in the coming days ahead, now that we have better hotel high speed internet. On the 15 nights that we were aboard the Caribbean Princess, we stopped in Cartagena, sailed thru the new locks of the Panama Canal, took a train ride across the width of Panama, had a couple stops in Costa Rica, lots of sea days, and a final stop at Cabo San Lucas.
The 19 night cruise was scheduled to go from Fort Lauderdale (via the Panama Canal and the other stops along the way) to Vancouver, Canada. We had it booked as a 19 day cruise, but it was actually a back-to-back 15 day followed by a shorter four day cruise, although we had the same cabin for what would have been 19 days. The 15 day cruise segment was scheduled to end in San Francisco, with approximately 2/3 of the 1,700 passengers debarking there. There were only 550 or so passengers going on or boarding in San Francisco to Victoria for the final four nights of the itinerary. The ship was then scheduled to go into dry dock for three weeks. We had return flights booked from Vancouver to Los Angeles, where we were going to stay 3 days prior to taking a 7 night cruise on the brand new Discovery Princess.
On the last night of the 15 night cruise segment, however, we received a letter in our room, stating the continuing 4 day cruise to Vancouver was canceled, and the cruise would be ending for everyone in San Francisco the very next day! The letter was also sent to the approximately 550 other passengers who would obviously need to make last minute arrangements to their itinerary.
While the ship does need to go into dry dock, abruptly ending and basically cancelling the last four nights of the cruise for extra dry dock days sounded a bit suspicious to us and the rest of the passengers. The last five days or so of this cruise, there was a COVID outbreak onboard, affecting both passengers and crew, all of whom were fully vaccinated. Two couples that we met had very mild symptoms (stuffy nose but otherwise felt fine) were quarantined for the rest of the cruise, among other passengers who were sent to the quarantine area on deck twelve. Masks, which had no longer been required since March 1, were now once again required onboard in indoor areas.
On the next to last day of the cruise, the entire crew was tested (which they do weekly), and it was rumored that there were up to 80 crew in the galley that tested positive and are now quarantined. While the ship wouldn’t give the exact number of crew and passengers affected, the cruise abruptly ended as of today. Certain crew members were never seen again on the cruise the last couple days, including our waiter, which has us a bit concerned, although we feel fine.
So anyway, we packed up our luggage last evening, and debarked the ship here in San Francisco this morning. While the ship offered to assist us with ongoing travel plans, we opted to do this ourselves as we have a week in between the cruises, and weren’t sure exactly what we will be doing. We canceled our flight from Vancouver to LAX, and reworked our hotels for the next week, as well as booked a flight from SFO to LAX on Tuesday. We docked right in San Francisco, and had incredible views of the city from our aft balcony when we woke up.
We are now staying in San Francisco for two nights, and then will fly to LAX and stay there for five nights instead of three. While we’re disappointed about not going on to Vancouver, you have to roll with the tide, especially in these still pandemic times.
It’s 7:05pm, and Steve (DOS) and I are now heading out to dinner. I will update more soon. On the bright side, we had a wonderful day today as the weather was beautiful and we toured around Fisherman’s Wharf, and added bonus for this trip!
To those I met on the cruise, I wish you safe and happy travels home, and please stay in touch!