Princess cancels Feb. 12 sailing as Diamond Princess waits out quarantine

YOKOHAMA — Princess Cruises has cancelled Diamond Princess’ Feb. 12 departure as the ship is currently under a 14-day quarantine with 2,666 passengers onboard, including more than 250 Canadians.

Princess is in the process of notifying passengers booked on the Feb. 12 sailing.

Meanwhile passengers booked on the ship for an eight-day sailing scheduled to depart Feb. 4 are confined to the ship for at least two weeks. Ten passengers have tested positive for coronavirus.

Princess is offering full refunds to all passengers onboard, plus a 100% future cruise credit.

In an update on its website, Princess says: “Princess Cruises can confirm that the first phase of health screening of all guests and crew onboard Diamond Princess, by the Japanese Ministry of Health, has been completed. We were notified that amongst the samples that have completed testing, 10 people have tested positive for Coronavirus. This includes two Australian guests, three Japanese guests, three guests from Hong Kong, and one guest from the U.S. in addition to one Filipino crewmember.

“These 10 persons, who have been notified, will be taken ashore by Japanese Coast Guard watercraft and transported to local hospitals for care by shoreside Japanese medical professionals. It has been confirmed that the ship will remain under quarantine in Yokohama. The length of the quarantine will be at least 14 days as required by the Ministry of Health.”

The cruise line says food, provisions, and other supplies will be brought onboard. Passengers have free Internet and telephone to use in order to stay in contact with their family and loved ones, and the ship’s crew is working to keep all guests comfortable.

“Princess Cruises will continue to fully cooperate with and follow the instructions of global medical authorities and the Japanese government,” says the statement.
As with any cruise the 2,666 passengers and 1,045 crew cover a range of nationalities. About half the passengers onboard are from Japan.

The director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has asked for US$675 million to help countries address the expected spread of the virus. He acknowledged that the sum is a lot, but told a news briefing that “it’s much less than the bill we will face if we do not invest in preparedness now.”

Meanwhile Canadians stranded in Wuhan found out today that a flight set to bring them home has been delayed by weather conditions. “So everything is delayed by a day. We’re hoping to have these families back on Friday,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press