Americans warned not to go on cruise ships due to coronavirus concerns
The United States State Department is warning Americans about traveling on cruise ships during the coronavirus outbreak.
A New Jersey couple remains stuck onboard the Grand Princess Cruise ship in Oakland, California after 21 people on the ship tested positive for the virus. The Devers are not sick but have been told to stay in their cabin. They say that they might be able to get off on Tuesday or Wednesday, but that even after that they will be forced to quarantine for two weeks in Georgia or Texas.
Karen Dever says that she is critical of the Trump administration’s response to the crisis and says that she and her husband feel abandoned.
“It’s still upsetting when your leader, your president says he doesn’t want you back in the country and he doesn’t want you off the ship," she says.
Dever says that she has been keeping in touch with family through FaceTime and text messages.
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Meanwhile, travel agents say that business has slowed due to concerns about the virus.
“Over the last couple of days…it’s gotten a lot more crazy,” says travel agent Kimberly Milnes.
Milnes says that she has been working with her clients to calm their nerves and change or cancel their itineraries.
“I’m watching it every single day. I’ve been calling my clients, updating them,” she says.
The State Department says that people with underlying health issues should especially avoid cruise ships. But Milnes says that for some, it is not just about the fear of getting sick.
“I have some clients that are going on a Disney cruise in the end of May. And she’s like, ‘We just can’t afford to be stuck on a ship. We can’t afford to miss work. That would really impact our life,’” Milnes says.
Milnes says that business has been slow due to the fear of the virus.
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“The phone’s not really ringing right now for new vacations. I’ve has some cancellations, but I’m just trying to be optimistic – watching, seeing what’s happening,” she says.
She also says that she expects prices to drop in the coming weeks – giving some the incentive to book a trip. But she says that her best advice for her clients is to buy travel insurance.
“I am a big advocate of travel insurance, always. Especially since I specialize in families, so you never know if your kid’s going to get sick or something’s going to happen,” she says.
There are 11 “presumptive positive” cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey as of Monday evening. Gov. Phil Murphy has declared a state of emergency for the state.