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Trump administration reportedly weighs discouraging people from cruising

Cruise ship alongside in NYC.jpg
Cruise line leaders were scheduled to meet with Mike Pence on coronavirus containment
The United States is reportedly considering whether to discourage travelers, particularly those with underlying health conditions, from taking a cruise.

No decision has been made but the Trump administration has discussed this as part of its potential coronavirus containment strategy, according to a Reuters exclusive.

Ahead of Mike Pence meeting

As earlier reported, key cruise leaders including Adam Goldstein, chairman of Cruise Lines International Association, are scheduled to meet with Vice President Mike Pence Saturday afternoon at Port Everglades. Pence is heading the US response to the virus.

CLIA: Restrictions at odds with WHO

Reacting to the report, CLIA said: 'Any action to restrict cruising is unwarranted, and at odds with the World Health Organization which continues to advise against the application of travel or trade restrictions to countries experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks.

Singling out the travel and tourism industry, and cruise lines specifically, will have significant detrimental impacts — some possibly irreversible — on the national and local economies, CLIA warned.

According to the association, the cruise industry supports more than 421,000 American jobs and contributed nearly $53bn to the US economy in 2018. Cruise activity, CLIA added, 'supports travel agencies, airlines, hotels and a broad supply chain of industries that stretches across the United States. With the proactive measures in place by the cruise industry based on prevailing guidance from global health authorities, restricting cruising is unreasonable and will have long-lasting detrimental effects on the US economy well beyond the travel and tourism industry.'

The Reuters report came on a day that coronavirus test results were awaited from 45 people aboard Diamond Princess, off the California coast. Gov. Gavin Newsom has said the ship will not be allowed to dock pending information on the health status on board.

Cancellation policies revised

Also today, an increasing number of cruise operators rolled out more flexible cancellation policies and some incentives for travelers.

Four brands in the Royal Caribbean family are now allowing people to cancel within 48 hours of departure and get a future cruise credit to apply to any sailing before the end of 2021. Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruises were among those giving on-board credit to encourage people to keep their travel plans.

Prior US advice on cruising

Nearly two weeks ago the US urged Americans to reconsider travel by cruise ship to or within Asia. By then, most operators had already revised itineraries.

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