Travel expert not worried about coronavirus impact on cruise industry

‘The Cruise Guy’ just returned from a Regal Princess cruise vacation

Despite coronavirus fears and quarantined cruise ship headlines, many vacationers are still happily heading out on ocean voyages.

Continue Reading Below

Travel expert Stewart Chiron, known as "The Cruise Guy," is one of them. He just returned from a Regal Princess cruise celebrating Valentine's Day.

“People are very confident about cruising,” Chiron said on FOX Business’ “The Claman Countdown” on Monday. “They understand that these events happening in southeast Asia are very different than what is going on here on cruises, let's say, into the Caribbean.”

AS CORONAVIRUS HALTS CHINESE TRAVEL, GLOBAL TOURISM TAKES MAJOR HIT

“The cruise lines are doing everything possible to protect the ships, protect the passengers and ensuring our safety,” he said, pointing to new procedures such as "gloved crew members" serving food instead of guests accessing a buffet line.

Chiron also brought up “elevated security measures," giving the example of cruise lines not allowing passengers on board if they were in "China, Macau or Hong Kong" during the last 14 days.

“There's medical screenings that are going on," he said. "They're checking people's temperatures. If you're sweating or you look ill, you may be selected for secondary medical checking.”

AMERICANS EVACUATED FROM CORONAVIRUS CRUISE FACE WEEKS IN QUARANTINE AFTER LANDING IN US

Chiron said medical teams are readily available on the ships and coronavirus fears didn’t seem to deter any travelers during his trip.

“I wash my hands with soap and water, and you limit your person-to-person contact. But I'm going on my vacation,” he said.

Despite Chiron’s optimism, cruise lines are seeing negative impacts from the pandemic.

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE

Carnival and Royal Caribbean have canceled around 20 China cruises between them. Miami-based Royal Caribbean estimates that the cancellations so far will shave about 1 percent off 2020 earnings, and that will double if travel restrictions in China are still in place at the end of February.

David Tarsh, a spokesman for ForwardKeys, spoke on how the coronavirus outbreak compares to the SARS epidemic, which killed 774 people in 2003, and said there are some key differences.

He said in 2003, media reported that the virus was impacting all of southeast Asia, even though it was confined to China, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Singapore. That hurt tourism even in places that were far from the outbreak, like India.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

This time, he said, travelers are more likely to understand that the virus is centered in Wuhan, China, which could help the recovery progress more quickly.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.