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Rochester travel agent says cruises are changing routes to avoid Coronavirus

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- Connections by Avra, a Rochester based travel agency, is keeping a close eye on how the climbing number of Coronavirus cases around the world could be affecting business.

Jamie Lund, executive vice president of operations, says some cruises are changing their destinations to avoid infection hot spots.

"In some cases have pulled their entire fleet out of East Asia and China and so they will re-position the ships elsewhere it could be Australia, New Zealand it could be in the Mediterranean, and they're redoing their itineraries," Lund said.

Regent 7 Seas, Oceana, and Norwegian Cruises are among the lines making changes.

"Re-positioned 40 of their itineraries which is costing them about $150 million to do," Lund said.

She said they want to put health first.

"They feel it's important so that way the staff on board as well as our clients are safe and protected," Lund said.

But, as those changes are made, there are other cancellation factors travelers should know about.

"Also what we're challenged with, is that a lot of people that took out travel insurance, in this particular case, the travel insurance will not cover them if they cancel because they're scared of virus or a little hesitant," Lund said.

She also says some myths about air travel are unwarranted.

"Most airlines other than the regional plans have a filter system that's equivalent to a hospital filtration system, so it's actually quite safe. So, what we recommend when you get on board, is open up that air valve above you so it's pushing out that air above you," she said.

Lund added that despite what happened on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship, with more than 700 cases and 4 deaths, cruises are still getting booked.

"We did see how booking had dipped between the end of January and February 14th but now they are picking back up again for the cruise lines," she said.

Lund says she reminds all her clients about hand-washing and other practices to avoid getting sick.

KaMaria Braye

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