HOUSTON - While the U.S. State Department issued a warning for cruise travelers on Sunday, two cruise ships left Galveston bound for the Caribbean.
We asked a San Antonio couple on their honeymoon if they’re worried about COVID-19.
“I think it’s bogus,” said Jonathon and Valeri Lai. “I think we’re good. It’s like the flu. As long as you’re washing your hands and you’re being protective, you’re fine.”
Vice President Mike Pence held a press conference over the weekend warning travelers to think twice before traveling, especially if they have underlying health conditions.
“This would be a good time to practice common sense,” said Vice President Pence. “Avoid activities, including traveling on a cruise line.”
All of Houston’s 11 confirmed COVID-19 patients had recently traveled on cruises in Egypt. Harris County’s Public Health Department is now urging residents who traveled on the Nile River cruise to contact local health officials.
“If my last day is on a Jamaica beach, I’m okay,” said Lai.
We asked other travelers if they felt safe boarding their cruise.
“We’re not going to get it,” said Myra Miller, a traveler. “We’re healthy, very healthy, [and] very clean. We wash our hands [and] sing ‘Happy Birthday’ three times.”
A spokesperson from Royal Caribbean provided the written statement below.
“We are staying focused on the development of an aggressive, responsive plan as agreed to during the meeting with Vice President Pence that goes beyond the already significantly enhanced protocols in place, which we believe are a model for others,” said Jonathon Fishman, a representative from Royal Caribbean. “We thank the Vice President for a productive meeting marked by our shared focus on public health. We have committed to do even more to protect our guests, our crew and the communities where we sail. This includes more stringent boarding procedures, adding additional onboard medical resources and temperature screenings at embarkation. We will also develop industry-funded protocols to care for guests on land in the event of an incident to eliminate future incidents of onboard quarantine. We are pleased to know the government agencies are prepared to work with us in developing these aggressive new measures. We expect to report back this week with further details of this enhanced approach to protecting public health.”
A representative from Carnival Cruise Line also provided the written statement below.
“Our brands have enhanced their health screening protocols, which includes thermal scans, temperature checks as well as other actions, both prior to boarding and onboard our ships,” said a spokesperson from Carnival. “We are currently in discussions with the CDC, World Health Organization and other health officials, and we met as a cruise industry Saturday, March 7, with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on an aggressive industry-wide response plan. The health and safety of our guests and crew is our highest priority, and cruising remains one of the most attractive vacation options available.”