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State Department, CDC urge people not to travel on cruise ships

Posted at 5:02 PM, Mar 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-09 22:55:13-04

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — The U.S. State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning the public to avoid traveling on cruise ships, as several vessels across the globe have been quarantined due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Both agencies issued alerts stating travelers with "underlying health issues" should "defer" from traveling on cruises.

"U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship," the notice reads.

However, the advisory didn't stop hundreds of people from boarding the Grand Celebration cruise ship at the Port of Palm Beach on Monday.

"I feel confident. I feel like they’re doing everything they can," said Lynda Latona, who is traveling from Michigan with her husband.

Many travelers say they’re encouraged by the additional measures the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has in place to ensure the facilities are sanitized.

“I can appreciate the comments from the CDC, they have to look at the whole industry and the entire cruising and travel sector, so their observations are more in tune with what they’re seeing and feeling,” said Oneil Khosa, CEO of the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line.

The Bahama Paradise Cruise Line only offers two-night trips to Grand Bahama Island or Nassau from the Port of Palm Beach.

“Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line takes everything very seriously, but because we’re a two-night cruise the level of sanitation and cleanliness we have is always at a heightened level. We have a turn around every two nights, so we are deep cleaning and all those processes being held at a more frequent process,” added Khosa.

Many countries have implemented screening procedures and denied port entry rights to certain ships.