How could the coronavirus impact South Florida's cruise industry?

Posted at 8:52 AM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 11:08:25-05

MIAMI — (WTVJ/NBC) -- The cruise line industry accounts for more than 300,000 jobs in South Florida, and there is some pause on what the next few months will be as the virus spreads.

Nearly six million passengers set sail from the Port Miami in the past year aboard more than 1,200 cruise ships that docked there.

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South Florida is home to two of the three busiest ports in the U.S. and industry experts worry the summer months could prove difficult for travelers worried about any travel -- let alone cruise ships where the virus spread in japan.

Adding to the overall anxiety was an incident off the coast of Jamaica involving the MSC Meraviglia that departed Miami on Sunday for a 15-day cruise.

The Jamaican and Cayman Islands government denied the MSC cruise from docking after just one crew member showed signs of the flu and later tested positive for it.

The cruise line said it had the proper paperwork but were told they could not come into port.

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Travel agents in South Florida say travelers are not actively canceling trips but asking about possible itinerary changes

"The cruise lines are being very, very proactive by making sure no one gets on the ship that has a fever or any sicknesses No. 1. And No. 2, they are checking passport to that no one has been to any of the countries that the coronavirus has been there which is really good. And they are cleaning the ships even more, cleaning their hands, I mean they are really doing a good job," said Gus Machado of Brickell Travel Management.

The MSC ship is on its way to Cozumel where passengers will undergo another round of screening.

It's not due back in Miami until March 8.

Courtesy WTVJ via NBC News Channel