Ruby Princess accidents and incidents

Ruby Princess cruise ship


Length (LOA)
289 m / 948 ft

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CruiseMapper's Ruby Princess cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 3672-passenger vessel owned by Princess Cruises. Our Ruby Princess accidents page contains reports made by using official data from renown online news media sources, US Coast Guard and Wikipedia.

Here are also reported latest updates on cruise law news related to ashore and shipboard crimes still investigated by the police. Among those could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • christening - 2008 (worker died)
  • pier collision/allision - 2023 (San Francisco)
  • illness - swine flu (2009)
  • injuries/crimes - overboard/rescued (2010-crew)
  • deaths - 2020 (22x Coronavirus)
  • pollution - 2018
  • Norovirus (passengers/crew) - 3 outbreaks in 2012 (total 392/34), 2013 (266/10), 2023 (284/34)
  • Coronavirus - 2020 (852 passengers-crew, including 22 passenger deaths), 2022 (12+73+143)
  • medevacs - 2016 (crew), 2022

06 July 2023Ship Collision / Allision

On July 6, 2023, at ~6 am California time (~13:00 UTC) while maneuvering for berthing in Port San Francisco, the ship made contact with the dock (Pier 27). The collision resulted in minor damages to the ship's hull (buckled steel plates on the aft-portside corner and a gash/above the waterline) and the pier.

Ruby Princess was carrying 4487 people (3328 passengers plus 1159 crew). No injuries or pollution were reported. The onboard systems remained functional. The next voyage (departure July 7th, planned with the same itinerary) was affected significantly as the departure was delayed 3 days and the itinerary was drastically changed.

Following the collision, on the same day (June 6th) the ship was filled with 1161 crew and 3256 passengers (who boarded in the afternoon/at 4 pm CA/23:00 UTC) but it didn't obtain clearance from the USCG to leave port. Ruby Princess remained moored to allow technical experts to conduct the necessary repairs.

As compensation, all affected passengers were provided with the option to cancel the current voyage and receive a full refund (100%) of the cruise fare paid, as well as of all/if any post-cruise hotel packages and land transfers (purchased through Princess Cruises), all/if any prepaid shore excursions and other items, also taxes and port fees. All passengers also received a 50% FFC voucher (future cruise credit).

The second option was to stay on the revised voyage (7-day Alaskan itinerary) and receive a 75% refund. The passengers were allowed to embark and disembark the docked ship at any time.

The investigation showed that the assisting harbor pilot attempted to dock the ship with max current recommendations.

After all necessary repairs were completed, the USCG cleared the ship on the morning of July 9th. Ruby Princess was scheduled to leave San Francisco at 2:30 pm (21:30 UTC). The boarded passengers were given until 11 am (July 9th) to decide whether to continue with the altered voyage or disembark. Eventually, the ship left with a total of 3838 people (2677 pax + 1161 crew).

The original 10-day Alaskan cruise was shortened to 7 days, with only two call ports - Ketchikan (July 12th) and Prince Rupert BC Canada (July 13th). The first three scheduled for visiting Alaskan destinations (Sitka/July 9th, Glacier Bay NP/July 10th, and Juneau/July 11th) were dropped from the itinerary.

The accident occurred at the end of the 10-day "Inside Passage with Glacier Bay National Park Cruise" (itinerary June 26-July 6, roundtrip from homeport San Francisco, California) visiting Alaska USA (Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay NP, and Ketchikan) and BC Canada (Prince Rupert/Kaien Island).

Note: Actually, this type of marine accident is called “allision” (striking a fixed object) as opposed to “collision” (striking another vessel).

March 2023Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

In March 2023, CDC reported that on the voyage February 26 - March 5, an epidemic Norovirus outbreak affected a total of 284 passengers (out of 2881, or 9,9%) and 34 crew (out of 1159, or 2,9%). The predominant symptoms were vomiting and diarrhea.

The ship was on a 7-day Western Caribbean roundtrip from homeport Galveston (Texas USA) with call ports in Mexico (Cozumel), Belize (Belize City) and Honduras (Isla Roatan's Mahogany Bay).

Note: Curiously, CDC's initial report was for infected 101 passengers (3,51%) and 12 crew (1,04%), with the predominant symptom being vomiting.

06 September 2022Coast Guard Medevacs

On September 6, 2022, a 66-year-old female passenger was medevaced from the ship en route from BC Canada (Prince Rupert) back to homeport San Francisco (California USA).

For the medical evacuation, from USCG Air Station Astoria (Sector Columbia River, Warrenton OR) was dispatched a Sikorsky MH-60T Jayhawk (rescue helicopter). The woman was winched/airlifted from the ship (approx 120 km / 75 mi southwest of the Columbia Bar/Columbia River's mouth) and transported to Portland's OHSU Hospital (Oregon Health & Science University) in stable condition.

The incident occurred at the end of a 10-day "Inside Passage with Glacier Bay Cruise" (itinerary Aug 28 - Sept 7, roundtrip from San Francisco) with call ports in Alaska (Sitka, Juneau, Glacier Bay NP, Ketchikan) and Canada (Prince Rupert/Kaien Island).

April 2022Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(Coronavirus) On April 23, 2022, a total of 73 cruise passengers were reported COVID-positive after completing the Hawaiian voyage on Ruby Princess. The outbreak occurred during the 15-day Panama Canal crossing ( from Florida to California (Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco, itinerary March 12-27) with call ports in Colombia (Cartagena), Panama (Panama Canal transit, Panama City), Costa Rica (Puntarenas) and Mexico (Cabo San Lucas).

On the following 15-day "Hawaiian Islands Cruise" (itinerary March 27 - April 11, roundtrip from San Francisco) was reported another COVID outbreak with 143 infected passengers. The voyage visited Hawaii (Honolulu, Kahului, Nawiliwili, Hilo) and Mexico (Ensenada).

According to the CDC and San Francisco Department of Public Health, all passengers and crew were vaccinated, and the COVID-positive were either asymptomatic or experienced only mild symptoms.

January 2022Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(Coronavirus) The 10-day "California Coast With Cabo San Lucas Cruise" (itinerary December 27 - January 6, 2022, roundtrip from homeport San Francisco, California USA) ended with a total of 12 COVID-positive passengers. The roundtrip voyage visited Los Angeles (Dec 29), Santa Catalina Island CA (Dec 30), San Diego (Dec 31), and Cabo San Lucas (Baja California Mexico/Jan 2-3 overnight).

According to Princess Cruises, the cases were discovered during routine testing of 25% of all the ~700 passengers onboard. The infected were mainly asymptomatic and some experiencing only mild symptoms. The liner was filled to ~1/3rd of its max capacity.

March 2020Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(epidemic Coronavirus outbreak) The 13-day Australia to New Zealand cruise (itinerary March 8-21) was ended early as the ship docked in homeport Sydney NSW on March 19. On the same day, all the 2647 passengers were disembarked (at Circular Quay) including 104 seriously sick and 36 with flu-like symptoms. Following the debarkation, the vessel remained at sea (anchored off the NSW coast, close to Sydney Harbour). The ship was also carrying 1151 crew and was mastered by Captain Giorgio Pomata.

Soon after the voyage's end, all former cruisers were emailed by Princess Cruises and informed that on their cruise 2 people tested COVID-19 (Coronavirus) positive. The ship's medical team (3 physicians, 3 nurses) conducted onboard 13 tests, of which 4 returned positive (3 pax, 1 crew). According to the company's official statement, the infected were "among a group of guests and crew members who had reported flu-like symptoms during the cruise".

On March 21, NSW health authorities reported a total of 4 Coronavirus cases from Ruby Princess - 3 passengers (hospitalized) and a crew (quarantined onboard). On March 23, NSW reported 48 confirmed Coronavirus cases among the former cruisers - 27 (NSW) plus 21 (Australia interstate). On March 24, a former passenger died of virus complications. On March 25, the total number of infected grew to 133 (107 NSW, 26 interstate).

As the vessel remained anchored near Sydney Harbour, of its entire staff-crew, on March 26 were reported ~700 people with flu-like symptoms and being isolated onboard (separate passenger staterooms). As the Australian health authorities didn't allow docking, provisioning (food and medications) was conducted via boats.

On March 28, the total number of Coronavirus-positive former cruisers of Ruby Princess (travelling on the revised itinerary March 8-19) reached 293, of whom 171 in NSW and 122 Australia interstate.

On March 29, from the anchored in Botany Bay liner were offloaded and hospitalized (at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney's Camperdown suburb) a total of 3 crew who developed severe respiratory problems. One of the medevaced was in critical condition. On March 29 was also reported that a 75-year-old woman (ex-passenger) died from Coronavirus complications at Caboolture Hospital (Moreton Bay Region, Queensland).

On March 30, Australian health authorities reported as Coronavirus-positive a total of 440 Ruby Princess passengers, including 211 in NSW, 70 in QLD, 71 in South Australia, 43 in Western Australia, 22 in the Canberra Territory, 18 in Victoria, 3 in Tasmania, 2 in Northern Territory.

On March 31 were reported that 5 former cruisers had died, including 1 in the Canberra Territory, 2 in Tasmania, 1 in NSW and 1 in QLD. On April 2, the number of confirmed Ruby Princess cases in NSW was 339 (337 pax + 3 crew), to a total 576.

On April 4, the total number of confirmed cases (among the ex-Australian passengers, excluding the international passengers who were disembarked without testing) reached 662, including 7 passenger deaths.

On April 5 were reported 4 more ex-passenger deaths - 3 in NSW and 1 in QLD. On April 6 one more died in Western Australia, on April 7 - one in Tasmania, bringing the ship's total deaths to 13. By April 13, to the ship were linked 5 more deaths, and 1 more was reported on April 15th - totalling to 19 (all Australians) out of 62 deaths nationwide at the time. On April 20, to the ship were linked 2 more ex-passenger deaths (totalling to 21). On May 13, ship's death toll reached 22 (including 2x Americans).

On April 5, the NSW Police started a criminal investigation to determine whether Australia's Biosecurity Act 2015 (enacted June 16th) and NSW laws had been contravened. The investigation (Strike Force Bast) included questioning around 220 people, including Carnival Australia (Carnival Corporation subsidiary company) officials, port personnel, the ship's crew and former passengers. Strike Force Bast (30 detectives) included personnel from NSW Police divisions Counter-Terrorism and Special Tactics, State Crime Command and Marine Area Command.

On April 6, the vessel was relocated from Sydney to Port Kembla (south of Wollongong NSW) where Australian health authorities could assess the onboard situation. Of all the crew (1040), 235 were exhibiting flu-like symptoms and 18 tested Coronavirus-positive. In April (9th through 11th) were announced a total of 77 confirmed cases (crew tested positive for COVID-19) of whom 66 remained onboard and 11 were hospitalized.

Ruby Princess was initially scheduled to leave Australia on April 18 (after completing the 14-day quarantine) and relocate to Bermuda. On April 20, the NSW Police announced that the cruise ship leaves Australia in 3 days (April 23), carrying a total of 171 Coronavirus-positive crew. Unconfirmed reports said that the ship's Captain was among the infected and in isolation.

On April 21, a total of 57 crew were disembarked and flown home. On April 22, the NSW Police (via commissioner Fuller) confirmed that the ship's Captain was healthy and will continue to master the vessel. He also announced that a total of 275 Filipino staff-crew will be repatriated (via a Carnival Australia-chartered flight) to Manila Philippines. The police official also confirmed that the cruise ship has a total of 190 Coronavirus-positive crew, including 13 hospitalized in NSW clinics. On April 23, refuelled and fully provisioned, the vessel departed Port Kembla with 214 crew (all healthy) and headed for Manila, where arrived on May 7. A total of 12 crew remained hospitalized in NSW. Earlier that day (April 23), 350+ crew were bused to Sydney Airport for their home flights. In April 20-23, 542 crew were disembarked and repatriated via charter flights of Canada, USA, UK, New Zealand, France, Germany, Mexico and Brazil.

(update) On August 16, NSW's Premier Gladys Berejiklian officially apologized for poor handling of the outbreak on Ruby Princess and failing to stop infected passengers from disembarking the ship in Port Sydney in March.

A public inquiry into the Ruby Princess outbreak concluded that NSW health officials made "inexcusable" mistakes when they allowed 2700 passengers (120 of whom felt unwell) to leave the ship on March 19. According to the inquiry, a total of 914 infections could be traced back to Princess Cruises Ruby ship. The outbreak led to 28 deaths. Previously, Ruby Princess' Coronavirus cases were reported "at least 852" and included 22 deaths - 20x in Australia and 2x in the USA.

(update) In December 2021, the New Zealand Cruise Association (NZCA) announced that the 20-month investigation into the incident confirmed “appropriate health declarations” by the vessel and its NZ ports.

27 October 2018Other Incidents

The 7-day Mexican Riviera cruise (itinerary Oct 27 - Nov 3) was overbooked. Princess Cruises offered as compensation full refunds or complimentary cruise for re-booking on another voyage (or ship from the fleet).

The overbooked cruise was a roundtrip from homeport Los Angeles (Long Beach CA) to the Mexican ports Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta.

07 August 2018Other Incidents

On August 7, 2018, due to extreme weather (gale with forecasted high winds up to 60 mph / 90 kph), the liner was rerouted and instead Skagway visited Haines AK. Cruise passengers were to be shuttled from Haines to Skagway via fast ferry, but the operation was cancelled due to rough sea conditions in Lynn Canal.

The incident occurred during 7-day Inside Passage cruise itinerary Aug 4-11) roundtrip from homeport Seattle WA to Juneau, Skagway (replaced with Haines), Glacier Bay, Ketchikan and Victoria (BC Canada).

15 February 2018Sea Pollution

On February 15, 2018, a CAM (Court Appointed Monitor) auditor reported witnessing 55-gallon (208-L) containers filled with unauthorized items (plastic straws, paper, cob holders, wooden stir sticks, bamboo clips, toothpicks, paper clips, Aluminium foil wraps) destined to go down the cruise liner's Food Waste Chute and overboard while at sea. All these items were not segregated (as required) during food waste's collection in the galley (ship's kitchen).

24 September 2016Coast Guard Medevacs

On September 24, 2016, a 47-year-old male crew (experiencing heart attack symptoms) was USCG-medevaced at ~2 am. The ship was approx 15 km (9 mi) southwest of San Diego (Point Loma). The USCG deployed an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. The man was airlifted and transferred to a local hospital.

25 January 2014Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

On January 25, 2014, a male passenger fell off the dock in the water. A crew threw a life preserver and guided him to the ladder. Since the man was exhausted, 2 security men got down, grabbed and hauled him up. The man was not injured and declined to call an ambulance. He was wheeled onto the ship in a wheelchair.

02 October 2013Structural and Technical Issues

(mooring) On October 1, 2013, the vessel was docked in call port Kusadasi (port to Eusebius, Turkey), when it broke all mooring lines due to strong winds and drifted out of the berth. A tugboat at the stern kept the ship from drifting away from the dock. No injuries or damages were reported.

March 2013Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

In March 2013, CDC reported on the voyage March 3 to 10, a major Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) infected 266 passengers (out of 3129, or 8,5%) and 10 crew (out of 1189, or 0,8%). All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhoea) and were quarantined to their cabins for 48 hours. The ship was on 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise leaving from homeport Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) Florida.

October 2012Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

In October 2012, CDC reported that on a 19-day voyage (Oct 9 to 28), a Norovirus outbreak affected 149 passengers (out of 2971, or 5%) and 14 crew (out of 1177, or 1,2%).

September 2012Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

In September 2012, CDC reported that on the voyage Aug 21 to Sept 13, a Norovirus outbreak affected 114 passengers (out of 1778, or 6,4%) and 11 crew (out of 851, or 1,3%). The incident occurred during 25-day repositioning cruise from Asia to the USA via Alaska (Beijing China to San Francisco CA).

March 2012Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

In March 2012, CDC reported that on a 7-day voyage from Fort Lauderdale (itinerary Feb 26 - Mar 4), a Norovirus outbreak affected 129 passengers (out of 3147, or 4,1%) and 9 crew (out of 1179, or 0,8%).

27 May 2011Crew / Passenger Injuries and Overboards

(overboard) On May 27, 2011, at ~2 am, a male crew jumped overboard into the sea, but was rescued alive. The ship was on Eastern Mediterranean cruise from Greece to Italy (Athens to Venice). The Captain announced that a man fell overboard and the ship is turning around for a search and rescue operation. After ~2 hours, the man (working on the ship as a cook) was located and saved.

28 July 2009Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

On July 28, 2009, after docking in homeport Venice Italy, the vessel was briefly seized (for ~1 hour) by the Italian authorities. Three passengers and 4 crew were previously reported by the ship suffering from swine flu (pig influenza) symptoms – fever, headache, coughing. All the sick were quarantined to their cabins. Two of the passengers were disembarked and treated ashore. The other infected were showing progress and remained on the ship.

Note: When the itinerary doesn’t include US cruise ports, the ship is not required to report to CDC, thus no official illness report would be issued.

15 October 2008Crew / Passenger Deaths

Incidents during ship christening ceremonies are considered very ominous. The vessel’s christening ceremony was scheduled for October 16, 2008, but was cancelled. The previous night, a 43-year-old worker died in an onboard accident. The man was a supervisor at the shipbuilder Fincantieri’s yard in Monfalcone (Trieste Italy). He was killed upon trying to squeeze through a watertight door. The heavy door closed upon him.

This unfortunate event resulted in an ~8 hours strike, with almost 2000 Italian workers protesting and calling for improved security at work.

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