Ruby Princess departs San Francisco after being damaged in dock collision
The U.S. Coast Guard gave the Ruby Princess clearance to depart San Francisco on Sunday, three days after the cruise ship crashed into a dock and had to undergo significant repairs.
Representatives with Princess Cruises, the ship's owner, said that repairs to the punctured hull —which forced the ship to remain at San Francisco's Pier 27 over the weekend— were inspected and certified by the Coast Guard and the "ship is safe and fit to sail."
The Ruby Princess set sail Sunday for the Pacific Northwest with 2,677 guests and 1,161 crewmembers, the company said. It is scheduled to make stops Wednesday in Ketchikan, Alaska, and Thursday in Prince Rupert, Canada. It will conclude its trip back in San Francisco on July 16, keeping with the originally scheduled end date of the cruise.
The cruise was shortened from 10 to seven days as a result of the accident.
The Ruby Princess was damaged Thursday when it struck the dock at Pier 27, punching a hole in the side. For the next few days, the disabled ship became something of a tourist attraction of its own. No one was injured in the accident.
"It could have been worse, right?" passenger Kat Hanson told CBS San Francisco. "We could be in the middle of the ocean and, God forbid, something could have been worse."
While the hole was being patched and repainted, a few thousand tourists were given an unexpected opportunity to explore San Francisco.
"We actually had a chance to go to Embarcadero and Pier 39 shopping center," passenger Linda Wong said. "This is like an extra shore excursion for us, right? But it's free. So, pretty good. We bought some souvenirs also."
Many passengers remained upbeat, despite their planned trip being shortened by three days. Passengers who chose to leave were offered a full refund, while those who chose to wait out the repairs received a 75% discount on a future cruise.
Stuart Sousa was one of those passengers willing to stick it out, but he was unhappy that the ship would only be visiting Ketchikan and Prince Rupert before heading home.
"So, we'll only go to one city in Alaska and one city in Canada and then we're coming back," Sousa said. "We were hoping to see the glaciers and all that, but we already had this time scheduled."
This marks the latest in a string of issues the Ruby Princess has dealt with over the past few years, including multiple COVID-19 outbreaks.
In early March, more than 300 passengers and crewmembers reported feeling sick with what was determined by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention to be a norovirus.
In April of last year, at least 143 passengers aboard the Ruby Princess tested positive for COVID-19 during a trip from San Francisco to Hawaii. The previous month, more than 70 people tested positive for the virus during a Panama Canal cruise.
In March of 2020, at the onset of the pandemic, a COVID-19 outbreak linked to hundreds of passengers aboard the Ruby Princess after it docked in Sydney, Australia, resulted in 28 deaths, Australian health officials determined at the time, according to BBC News.