Ruby Princess

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Ruby Princess (ship, 2008) IMO 9378462; in Split, 2011-10-17 (2).jpg
Ruby Princess leaving Split on 17 October 2011
NameRuby Princess
OwnerCarnival Corporation & plc
OperatorPrincess Cruises
Port of registryBermuda Hamilton, Bermuda
BuilderFincantieri (Monfalcone-Trieste, Italy)[5][6]
CostUS $400,000,000
Yard number6150[3]
Laid downJune 2007
Launched1 February 2008
Christened6 November 2008 by Trista Sutter and Ryan Sutter[4]
CompletedOctober 2008
Acquired23 October 2008
Maiden voyage8 November 2008
In serviceNovember 2008
StatusIn service
General characteristics
Class and typeCrown-class cruise ship
Tonnage113,561 GT
Length951 ft (290 m)
Beam118 ft (36 m)
Draught8 m (26 ft)
Decks19 decks
Installed power4 x V12 Wärtsilä Common Rail Diesel Generators, 2 x inline 8 Wärtsilä Common Rail Diesel Generators.
PropulsionTwin propellers
Speed23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph)
Capacity3,080 passengers

The Ruby Princess is a Crown-class cruise ship owned and operated by Princess Cruises.

The Ruby Princess was built in 2008 by Fincantieri in Trieste, Italy, as a sister ship to Crown Princess and Emerald Princess. She was turned over to Carnival Corporation and Princess Cruises in late October 2008.[7] She was formally named at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on 6 November 2008 by Trista and Ryan Sutter.[4]

The ship became infamous in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the source of over 10% of Australia's early COVID-19 cases.[8] By August, the total number of deaths associated with the ship was 28 and the number of infections was estimated at no fewer than 900.[9] A cluster of cases in New Zealand was also linked to the ship.


Ruby Princess in Grenada at night
Ruby Princess docked at Pier 2 in Port Everglades in January 2015

Ruby Princess continued the modified Grand-class design with the Night Club moved just aft of the funnel, rather than suspended over the stern like the original designs.[10]

By gross tonnage she was the largest ship in the Princess fleet until the arrival of the new Royal Princess.[11]

Areas of operation

Ruby Princess was initially based in Los Angeles for cruises to the Mexican Riviera, Hawaii and California coastal cruises.[12] In late 2019, Ruby Princess' base moved to Australia.[13] By early 2022 the vessel was again based in California.[14]

2020: spread of COVID-19

Ruby Princess docked in Ketchikan, Alaska during a 7-day Alaska cruise in August 2019

On 8 March 2020, Ruby Princess departed Sydney, Australia for a 13-night cruise around New Zealand. Intended ports of call were Fiordland National Park (scenic cruising), Port Chalmers (for Dunedin), Akaroa, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, Auckland, and Paihia (for the Bay of Islands). The cruise was cut short on 15 March and Ruby Princess returned direct to Sydney from Napier.[15]

Ruby Princess' visit to Napier on 15 March 2020 led to a cluster of 16 COVID-19 cases there.[16][17][18]

On 19 March 2020, the ship arrived back in Sydney, New South Wales two days early from the New Zealand cruise, docking at 3am, as some COVID-19 swabs needed to be tested as an urgent matter.[19] The ship disembarked 2,700 passengers later that morning. The state health minister, Brad Hazzard announced on 20 March 2020 that 13 of the people on the ship had been tested for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, and 3 of them were positive. New South Wales health authorities asked all passengers to go into self-isolation.[20] It was announced on 24 March that one passenger had died and 133 on the ship had tested positive for the coronavirus.[21]

As of 30 March, at least 440 passengers had tested positive for the virus. 211 were in New South Wales, 71 in South Australia, 70 in Queensland, 43 in Western Australia, 22 in the Australian Capital Territory, 18 in Victoria, three in Tasmania and two in the Northern Territory.[22] By 31 March, five of them had died, one in the Australian Capital Territory, two in Tasmania, one in New South Wales and one in Queensland.[23] By 2 April, cases in New South Wales had risen to 337 passengers and 3 crew members, and total passenger cases had risen to at least 576,[24] excluding passengers who left Australia without being tested.

On 1 April, the ship was off Port Botany. The International Transport Workers' Federation had called on the Australian government to allow the crew members to be disembarked so that they could be flown to their countries of residence. At that point, there were 15,000 crew members in 18 cruise ships sitting off the Australian coast. Six from Ruby Princess had been medically evacuated.[25] Aspen Medical was contracted to carry out medical assessments on the ship and visited it on 2 April.[26]

Another three passengers from the ship were reported dead in New South Wales on 5 April,[27] and a fourth in Queensland.[28] Another died in Western Australia on 6 April[29] followed by one in Tasmania on 7 April,[30] bringing total deaths to 13.[31][29][30] The death toll reached 21 on 18 April 2020 with the death of a second man in the United States.[32] About 900 passengers from countries other than Australia left Sydney after the ships arrival there; few specifics are known about infections or deaths in this group.[33] The death toll was reported to have reached 22 on 13 May, with the death of an 81 year old passenger.[34] According to an inquiry by Bret Walker SC for the New South Wales government, the eventual death toll was at least 28, including eight from the United States.[35][36]

There had been 662 confirmed cases of the virus,[37] including 342 in New South Wales. 11 cases of secondary transmission from people infected on the ship had been reported, which had not led to any deaths.[27]

As of 8 April, the ship's crew of about 1,000 remained on board, with 200 exhibiting flu-like symptoms; 18 had tested positive for COVID-19. The vessel moored at Port Kembla on 5 April 2020.[38] 542 crew members were taken off the ship for repatriation to Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and the United States between 21 and 23 April.[39][40] 190 members of the crew have tested positive for the virus.[41] The ship left Port Kembla on 23 April.[40] On 7 May, the ship arrived in Manila and disembarked 214 Filipino crew members.[42]

Criminal investigation

On 5 April 2020, New South Wales Police launched a criminal investigation into whether the operator of the ship, Carnival Australia, broke the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cwth) and New South Wales state laws, by deliberately concealing COVID-19 cases.[28] A report by The Guardian's Matilda Boseley commented: "Since the ship's 2,700 passengers were allowed to freely disembark in Sydney on 19 March, federal and state authorities have been pinballing blame."[43]

On 7 April 2020, it was reported that the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, had requested Crown Law to check whether her country's laws had been broken.[44]

As of the evening of 8 April, 30 investigators had been assigned to Strike Force Bast which was looking into the Ruby Princess case: as to "the communications, actions, and other circumstances that led to the docking and disembarking of the vessel" without a quarantine.[45] The ship's voyage data recorder had been seized.[38]

Special Commission of enquiry

On 15 April, the NSW State Government announced a Special Commission of inquiry to investigate events surrounding the Ruby Princess.[46] The Commission was headed by barrister Bret Walker.

The Commission held hearings on 22 and 23 April for crew members prior to the ship leaving Port Kembla for Manila, late on 23 April.[47][48] It published its report on 14 August 2020.[35][49][further explanation needed]

Biosecurity review

The Australian Inspector-General of Biosecurity also conducted a review of at-border delivery of human biosecurity functions in regard to the Ruby Princess incident. His report was released on 29 April 2021 and found that inspection protocols were not followed as unwell passengers should have been screened individually by following a checklist but this was not done.[50][51] The report made over 40 recommendations to improve Australias' human biosecurity management on ships.[52]

2022: spread of COVID-19

In April 2022, the Ruby Princess and 52 other cruise ships were under investigation by the CDC for excessive COVID-19 outbreaks on board their vessels since the start of the year. In January, 12 passengers on a Ruby Princess cruise to Mexico tested positive for the virus, while more than 70 people were found to have COVID-19 on the same ship after it returned from a trip to the Panama Canal in March. On a third cruise in April to Hawaii, 143 passengers on the Ruby Princess tested positive.[14]

Passengers on the Hawaii trip stated that it was quite clear that a large number of passengers were ill but unless they self-reported, they were free to move around the ship. All people on the Hawaii cruise were vaccinated. One person was hospitalised.[14]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Ruby Princess (982126)". Port State Information Exchange. United States Coast Guard.
  2. ^ "Ruby Princess (IMO: 9378462)". Retrieved 29 January 2010.
  3. ^ Colton, Tim. "Large Cruise Ships by Operator". Archived from the original on 26 October 2009. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Ruby Princess Delivered by Shipyard Today; Sets Sail for Florida". Princess Cruises. 23 October 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  5. ^ "Ruby Princess Cruise Ship Photos". ShipParade. Archived from the original on 27 December 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  6. ^ Wagner, Richard H. "Ruby Princess Ship Facts" (PDF). BeyondShips. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  7. ^ "Ruby Princess". Cruise Hive. Archived from the original on 3 April 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  8. ^ Eleanor Ainge Roy (9 April 2020). "Have Australia and New Zealand stopped Covid-19 in its tracks?". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Ruby Princess: New South Wales premier apologises over cruise ship outbreak". BBC. 17 August 2020. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  10. ^ Klein, Robert. "Grand Class". Castles of the Seas. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
  11. ^ "Princess Cruises Debuts New "Ultimate Ship Tour" with Launch of Ruby Princess". Princess Cruises. 9 February 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  12. ^ "Europe 2014 – Page 3 – Cruise Critic Message Board Forums". Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  13. ^ Weber, David (8 October 2017). "Fremantle to keep cruise ships after port access stoush". ABC News.
  14. ^ a b c Brooks, Khristopher (26 April 2022). "Ruby Princess cruise ship docked in San Francisco with 143 cases of COVID-19". CBS News. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  15. ^ Zhou, Naaman (24 March 2020). "Anatomy of a coronavirus disaster: how 2,700 people were let off the Ruby Princess cruise ship by mistake". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  16. ^ "Three New Cases Of COVID-19 In HB – One Linked To Cruise Ship Ruby Princess" (Press release). Hawke's Bay District Health Board. 26 March 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020 – via Scoop. The third case was not linked to overseas travel but did have a connection to the Cruise Ship – The Ruby Princess.
    Dr Eyre said anyone who had COVID-19 symptoms and came into close contact for 15 minutes or longer with passengers from The Ruby Princess, which docked 15 March, Napier Port, and is now symptomatic should call their GP.
  17. ^ "Coronavirus: New Hawke's Bay cluster linked to Ruby Princess cruise ship responsible for hundreds of Australian cases". Newshub. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  18. ^ "COVID-19 – Clusters". Ministry of Health (NZ). 11 April 2020. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  19. ^ Chung, Laura (6 May 2020). "Ruby Princess rushed back to Sydney with COVID-19 swabs". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  20. ^ "Coronavirus: thousands who left cruise ship in Sydney told to self-isolate after three people test positive". The Guardian. 20 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  21. ^ "Coronavirus infections in NSW pass 800, Australia's eighth death confirmed". ABC News. 24 March 2020. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  22. ^ "More than 400 coronavirus cases – 10% of Australia's total – are from Ruby Princess cruise ship". The Guardian. 31 March 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  23. ^ "Coronavirus death in ACT was a passenger on the under-fire Ruby Princess cruise ship". Seven Network. 31 March 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  24. ^ "COVID-19 (Coronavirus) statistics". NSW Health. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  25. ^ "Coronavirus: calls to repatriate 15,000 crew members from cruise ships off Australia's coast". The Guardian. 1 April 2020. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  26. ^ "Two cruise ships agree to leave Australian waters as police raise hopes of resolving standoff". The Guardian. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  27. ^ a b "NSW coronavirus death toll rises, with three people dying after travelling on the Ruby Princess". ABC News (Australia). 5 April 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  28. ^ a b Nguyen, Kevin; Thomas, Sarah (5 April 2020). "Ruby Princess coronavirus deaths to be subject of criminal investigation by NSW Police homicide squad". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  29. ^ a b "WA coronavirus deaths rise to four as man from Ruby Princess dies of COVID-19 at Royal Perth Hospital". ABC News (Australia). 6 April 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  30. ^ a b "Tasmanian man in his 80s becomes state's third coronavirus fatality". ABC News (Australia). 7 April 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  31. ^ "Criminal investigation launched into Ruby Princess cruise ship coronavirus disaster". The Guardian. 5 April 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  32. ^ "Coronavirus outbreak on Ruby Princess claims second US man, family launches $1.6 million lawsuit". ABC News (Australia). 18 April 2020. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  33. ^ "Coronavirus concerns for 900 international passengers on Ruby Princess, who are not included in official stats". ABC. 13 April 2020. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  34. ^ "Australia's coronavirus death toll rises after 81yo Ruby Princess passenger becomes latest fatality". ABC News (Australia). 13 May 2020. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  35. ^ a b "Ruby Princess coronavirus inquiry slams 'inexcusable' mistakes made by NSW Health". ABC News (Australia). 14 August 2020. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  36. ^ Special Commission 2020, p. 265.
  37. ^ Smee, Ben (4 April 2020). "NSW health minister defends experts who handled Ruby Princess coronavirus outbreak". The Guardian.
  38. ^ a b "NSW Police seize Ruby Princess's 'black box' in overnight raid for coronavirus investigation". ABC. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  39. ^ "First Ruby Princess crew members disembark after coronavirus isolation, hundreds still left on board". ABC News (Australia). 21 April 2020. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  40. ^ a b "Coronavirus-hit Ruby Princess departs Port Kembla for international waters". ABC News (Australia). 23 April 2020. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  41. ^ Smee, Ben (23 April 2020). "Ruby Princess crew fear for their health as ship leaves Australia". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  42. ^ "Cruise ship linked to Australia coronavirus infections sails into Manila". Arab News. 7 May 2020.
  43. ^ Boseley, Matilda (5 April 2020). "Criminal investigation launched into Ruby Princess cruise ship coronavirus disaster". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 June 2020. At least 11 passengers from ship have now died, more than 30% of Australia's total Covid-19 deaths
  44. ^ Gower, Patrick (7 April 2020). "Coronavirus: Jacinda Ardern seeks legal advice on Ruby Princess cruise ship". Newshub. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  45. ^ "Strike Force Bast underway to investigate actions surrounding Ruby Princess". NSW Police. 8 April 2020. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  46. ^ "Special commission of inquiry into Ruby Princess". NSW Government. 15 April 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  47. ^ "Hearings - The Special Commission of Inquiry into the Ruby Princess". Dept. of the Premier and Cabinet. April 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  48. ^ Kontominas, Bellinda (23 April 2020). "Coronavirus-hit Ruby Princess departs Port Kembla for international waters". ABC News. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  49. ^ Special Commission 2020.
  50. ^ Conifer, Dan (24 August 2021). "Report finds federal government failings likely contributed to Ruby Princess COVID-19 disaster". 7:30. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  51. ^ Inspector-General of Biosecurity (29 April 2021). "Confidence testing for at-border delivery of critical human biosecurity functions – Ruby Princess cruise ship incident" (PDF). Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  52. ^ Inspector-General of Biosecurity (29 April 2021). "Inspector-General of Biosecurity review of at-border delivery of human biosecurity functions – Ruby Princess cruise ship incident". (Press release). Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Retrieved 27 August 2021.


Further reading

  • McNab, Duncan (23 February 2021). The Ruby Princess. Pan Macmillan Australia (published 2021). ISBN 978-1-76098-297-3.

External links