Passengers Onboard ‘Voyage of the Damned’ Cruise Remember COVID-19 Nightmare 1 Year Later
Six died of COVID-19, including retired firefighter Michael Doherty, who was celebrating his 40th anniversary with his wife Susan.
It was known as “the Voyage of the Damned,” a dream vacation cruise that turned into a nightmare aboard the Grand Princess. The ship, which was on a 15-day cruise to Hawaii, became ground zero for COVID-19 when the pandemic was just taking shape.
All 2,600 passengers were ordered to stay in their cabins, and food was delivered to each room. Monica Achter was on the cruise with her parents, and spoke to Inside Edition about life on the ship.
“We had nowhere to go. We were definitely prisoners,” Achter said. Achter talks about the experience in her new book, "We're All in This Together: Quarantined on the Grand Princess During COVID-19."
The ship circled for five days off the coast of San Francisco before finally being allowed to dock in Oakland.
In total, 115 people contracted the virus. Six died, including retired firefighter Michael Doherty, who was celebrating his 40th anniversary with his wife Susan.
“I don’t know how sick he was, but he wasn’t getting any better,” Susan tearfully told Inside Edition.
For days, Susan says she pleaded with the ship’s doctors to examine her husband.
“He was not with us. He could not answer his name. He couldn’t answer his birthdate. He just had a blank look when you talked to him,” Susan said.
Michael was finally allowed off the ship to an ambulance waiting for him. But it would be the last time Susan saw him alive.
“He kept waiting for me to get on the ambulance with him and I couldn’t. It was really, really hard to not hold his hand or be with him,” Susan said.
Susan has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Princess Cruises. She believes they didn’t do enough to protect passengers.
Princess Cruises told Inside Edition that they can’t comment on litigation, but said that their response to the pandemic has been focused on the wellbeing of their guests and crew.
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