Petalumans on cruise now in quarantine

Sandy and Richard Granger boarded the Grand Princess cruise ship in San Francisco Feb. 21, excited for their excursion to Hawaii.

Nearly a month later, the retired Petaluma couple remain in quarantine at Travis Air Force Base after an outbreak of COVID-19 brought the cruise to a halt, one of a growing list of global disruptions due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Sandy Granger, 68, and Richard Grander, 72, are healthy and a little bored, but in good spirits as they pass the time until their two-week isolation is up on March 24.

“We look at the positive side,” Sandy Granger said. “This isn’t going to last forever. We’re going to go home.”

Two passengers on the ship that originally sailed to Mexico, including one from Sonoma County, tested positive for the coronavirus. This prompted the ship to remain off the California coast while 46 people with symptoms were tested. Twenty-one of the 3,500 people on board tested positive, and the ship was allowed to dock at the Port of Oakland on March 9.

The Grangers, retired state employees who have lived in Petaluma 33 years, passed the time in their balcony suite nine decks up.

“We’re pretty lucky,” Sandy Granger said while they were still on the ship. “Princess Cruises takes good care of us. They bring us food.”

On March 10, they disembarked through a health tent where workers took their temperature, and were loaded onto a bus to the base near Vacaville.

Life on the base is not completely locked down. Sandy Granger said she takes walks every day, and they interact with other passengers staying in base accommodations. The Grangers are in an apartment with a kitchenette. They pass the time reading books and watching TV.

One thing that has gotten worse since they left the ship is the food.

“Food started out not too bad, definitely not the meals we received in club class dining on the Grand Princess, but edible and somewhat nutritious,” Sandy Granger said. “Oh, we can get toilet paper, no problem, but have to beg for coffee. I even resorted to trading a small bottle of wine for some extra coffee.”

The couple’s temperature is checked twice daily, she said.

“Nobody comes in here without a mask, gown and gloves,” she said.

Frequent cruise goers, she said they were not prepared to swear off cruises in the future, but their next trip would be cross country by road.

“You get 3,000 people on a ship in close quarters, and you’re going to get people who are sick,” she said. “We’re just going along with the flow.”

(Contact Matt Brown at

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