Cruise Ships Begin Docking in SF Again / More Millennium Tower Drama

It's Monday, October 11.

Hey, San Francisco!

Matt Charnock here — The SF Minute's second guest editor. Some of you might know me as the human behind The Bold Italic and SFist (on the weekends). TBH, I’m just glad to be here and for the free snacks.

Oh! Nick will be back to doing his usual grand and groovy things on The SF Minute beginning next week, FYI.

Now… on to the news!


I can distinctly remember in 2020 basically live-publishing the arrival (and later docking) of the Grand Princess Cruise Ship — the coronavirus-stricken vessel that was carrying 3,533 passengers and crew, with at least 21 among them testing positive for COVID-19. At that point in time, we were all still blindly delusional and optimistic; I had only just begun to think about rewatching Contagion. But eight days after the cruise ship docked in the Port of Oakland, seven Bay Area counties, as well as the City of Berkeley, enacted a history-making shelter-in-place order

Well, with cruise ships now officially allowed to dock in San Francisco again, the Princess Cruises' gobsmackingly massive Majestic Princess became the first vessel of its kind to anchor in SF in 19 months. Thousands disembarked from the 19-deck ship Monday morning around 7 a.m. to a city still reeling from Fleet Week’s hoopla.

Per SFist, this is the first of 21 expected cruise ships arriving at the Port of SF this fall. And it’s a dash of pre-pandemic normalcy that the City is happy to see the return of.

"Tourism is a critical part of our city’s economy, helping to pay for important services that allow us to take care of our most vulnerable residents," Mayor London Breed said in a news release Friday. "This announcement [of cruise ships docking again in SF] is just another example of our city coming back to life and emerging from this pandemic stronger than ever before."

According to the Chronicle, the Majestic Princess is operating at reduced capacity; instead of ferrying 3,560 or so passengers on board, between 2,100 and 2,700 people got off the ship to explore San Francisco today.

Should COVID-19 cases continue to stabilize in SF, the city could see as many as 120-plus cruise dockings next year. Let’s just hope none of those share a similar fate to the fishing ship that sank near Fisherman’s Wharf last week.


Quick Newsy Bits:

  • Though thousands across parts of the East Bay and Wine Country are contending with PG&E power shutoffs, San Francisco account holders appear to have been spared from losing power; Monday’s PSPS events, which affected 22 counties across the state, were enacted after the National Weather Services issued a Red Flag Warning Sunday evening. (ABC7)

  • SF’s Buena Vista Horace Mann elementary school has been subjected to various safety hazardous over the years, including gas leaks, but $55 million in City funding could help the school get much-needed repairs done; a full renovation of the school could cost anywhere between $50 to $80 million — money that might come from the Proposition A Bond, which voters approved in 2016 to help both modernize older schools and help construct newer learning institution. (Mission Local)

  • While on the topic of Schools: SFUSD lost around 3,500 students over these past two years… costing the school district a staggering $35 million. (Chronicle)


What Else I’m Reading, ATM:


And Also…

So yea: Millennium Tower is still sinking. Maybe even faster than previously expected.

Testing will begin tomorrow at SF’s own Leaning Tower of Pisa for a future repair that may (or may not) help the building from sinking further. This new method that's expected to begin testing tomorrow will include installing a 3-foot-wide steel sleeve deep into the ground on the Fremont Street side of the apartment building, which will hopefully stabilize the 60-story tower.

Since opening in 2009, the Millennium Tower has sunk 19 inches and tilted more than 12 inches. Between this tower and the sinking sidewalks in Mission Bay, laid concrete isn’t doing all too well in San Francisco. And the climate crisis is likely to only exacerbate this problem further.

Have a great evening. See y’all Wednesday! — Matt Charnock


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