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Cruise industry suffering as coronavirus outbreak impacts multiple ships

Regal Princess finally docked late Sunday after coronavirus scare onboard, hours after scheduled arrival

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The cruise ship industry is a multi-billion dollar business.

What many are concerned about is how the coronavirus quarantine issues on several ships around the globe will impact future bookings.

The worldwide outbreak has already had a significant impact on the industry.

Local 10 News spoke with several passengers who were relieved to be back on land after the Regal Princess finally docked at Port Everglades late Sunday night.

The ship had to be cleared by the CDC after two cruise members were tested for COVID-19; those tests came back negative.

The Regal Princess being held offshore of South Florida at the direction of the CDC as two crew members are tested for coronavirus.
The Regal Princess being held offshore of South Florida at the direction of the CDC as two crew members are tested for coronavirus. (WPLG)

Now, stories of passengers trapped on cruise ships are taking their toll on public perception.

That comes in addition to advisories from the State Department and CDC, recommending that people with underlying health issues not travel by cruise.

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On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence met with cruise industry leaders at Port Everglades, which is connected to two of the three presumptive positive COVID-19 cases in Broward County.

"Today we reached an agreement with the cruise line industry to further enhance further entry and exit screening, and also to establish ship board testing," Pence said Saturday.

Pence said that they’re working with the industry to enhance screenings While PortMiami and Port Everglades said they are sanitizing terminals and ships.

According to the Washginton Post, White House advisers planned to discuss possibly policy changes with President Trump on Monday. Those changes could include deferring taxes on specific industries impacted by coronavirus, including travel. That could have a significant impact on Florida, as many cruise lines are headquartered in the state.

Cruise Lines International Association, an industry advocacy group, said it expects more rigorous coronavirus screenings, includiung taking the temperature of passengers while boarding.

Cruise industry expert Stewart Chiron told Local 10 News that cruise lines are offering incentives like ship credits, lowering fares and waiving cancellation policies to try and entice travelers to continue cruising.

Infographic: Cruise industry economic impact in Florida
Infographic: Cruise industry economic impact in Florida (CLIA)

More: CLIA 2020 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook Report


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