Retired KLTV employee discusses atmosphere of cruise with coronavirus concerns

INTERVIEW: Former KLTV employee discusses atmosphere aboard ship with coronavirus concerns
Published: Mar. 4, 2020 at 10:44 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - People on Princess Cruises’ Grand Princess may have been exposed to coronavirus after voyaging with 62 passengers who officials with the company say had previously been on a cruise with a man who died from the virus.

The 71-year-old man from California died at a hospital near California’s Placer County. Officials from that county said the patient was most likely exposed to the virus on a trip aboard the ship.

Butch Adair, a former chief engineer at KLTV, is now on that ship, with those 62 passengers.

“It’s rather quiet. But we’re not quarantined to our room,” said Adair. “There were 62 people, I believe, that continued on to the cruise I’m on, that were on the cruise earlier, to Mexico. They stayed on board, I don’t know the exact details, but I think once they discovered everything, they quarantined them to their cabin, until medical checked them out.”

Adair said they learned of the concerns from a letter Wednesday morning. You can read the letter on the Grand Princess website.

“We were supposed to spend one afternoon in Ensenada, Mexico,” said Adair. “We got up this morning and got a letter from Princess Cruises about the virus and such. They’re cancelling Ensenada and heading straight back to San Francisco and we’re supposed to dock there sometime tomorrow afternoon. Actually, we may not dock, we may anchor offshore until they make sure we’re okay.”

Adair said they haven’t received any set details about what will happen once they get to San Francisco.

He said either than large gatherings being cancelled, the cruise is close-to normal.

“The only major thing we’ve seen happen is big gatherings, like programs in the theater, those have been canceled. Smaller gatherings are still going on,” said Adair. “We went to the buffet for supper and lunch today. The big change you see there is you don’t touch anything. They hand you a plate and silverware; if you want something, they put the food on a plate, you don’t touch anything.”

Adair acknowledged the hard work of the staff on the ship.

“Overall, they’re doing really good, you see the staff working real hard cleaning and sanitizing,” said Adair. “I’m used to seeing that on Princess Cruise ships, with them going around and wiping down hand rails; you just see more of that now.”

While Adair said he doesn’t know the status of the 62 people. He said the rest of the guests, including him and his wife, have run of the ship.

“We’re fortunate enough, we have a room with a balcony, if restrictions get any tighter, we can look out,” said Adair.

According to Adair, small activities on the cruise ship are still going on which helps the spirits of those on board.

“Everybody is doing good. The crew is working extremely hard," said Adair. “They’ve got people cleaning really hard and they’re trying to keep things going, activities and such, so it’s a little dampened down, but not bad.”

Adair said at this point, they’re just waiting and wondering what will happen when they get to San Francisco.

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