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Thunder Bay woman’s parents among Grand Princess cruise ship passengers waiting to dock

The cruise ship is expected to dock in Oakland on Monday and Canadian passengers will be flown to CFB Trenton for quarantine.

THUNDER BAY - Samantha Zrobin is keeping her phone close by waiting for word from her parents who are among more than 230 Canadians aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship that has been held off the coast of California for the past several days due to passengers being infected with COVID-19.

“I think a lot of people are worried and concerned,” Zrobin said. “It’s just that everything is up in the air. No one in the world has dealt with this type of virus before.”

Zrobin, who lives in Thunder Bay, has been keeping in regular contact with her parents Ruth and Mike Zrobin of Brooks Falls, Ont.  

The Grand Princess began its journey on Feb. 21 and sailed to Hawaii. However, as it was nearing the end of its journey, passengers were confined to their cabins last Thursday as the Covid-19 virus was found in 21 passengers.

The infections were likely the result of a passenger on a previous voyage aboard the vessel. One individual who was infected from the previous voyage has died and several Canadians who were aboard the ship tested positive for Covid-19.

The ship is expected to dock in Oakland on Monday, but Zrobin said her parents still don’t know exactly how long it will take to get off the ship carrying more than 3,500 passengers.

“The only timeline they’ve been told is Capt. John Smith got on the announcements last night that it’s going to take several days because of where they are docking is not a commercial port,” she said. “So that will take some extra time and there is additional screening and health precautions that need to be taken.”

The Canadian government said it will charter a plane to transport the 237 Canadians onboard to Canadian Forces Base Trenton where they will be held in quarantine for 14 days. Any individual who is showing symptoms will be required to remain in the United States for further assessment.  

The time at sea since the quarantine has been difficult for her parents, Zrobin said, but they were fortunate in some ways.

“My parents are lucky to have a balcony room, so they are able to get out and have some sunshine and have communication with other guests through their balconies,” she said.

The Canadian government is advising against travel onboard cruise ships due to the risk of Covid-19 outbreaks.

Despite the quarantine and anxieties over the detection of Covid-19 in passengers aboard the ship, Zrobin said her parents still enjoyed their vacation.

“They still had an amazing adventure and an amazing time around Hawaii,” she said. “It hasn’t been until the last few days that things have gone astray. But given the amount of passengers, 3,500 people trying to communicate with loved ones back home, especially on Friday when everyone was trying to cancel flights and hotel reservations.” 


Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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