BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Baltimore travel agent is urging people to abide by the State Department’s travel recommendations as the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe.

Over the weekend, the State Department warned Americans, especially those with underlying health conditions, against taking a cruise.

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That warning helped Mary Joan Levin from Royal Travel Planners to decide to cancel her upcoming cruise. She and her granddaughter had planned to take a cruise next week.

“(I’m) listening to the state department (saying) ‘Nobody should go on cruises right this minute,’ so both of us have immune problems so that’s why I’m canceling,” Levin said.


It’s not just Levin, her clients have been calling her asking what they should do.

“For whatever reason, they feel threatened. They can’t go, they shouldn’t go,” she said.

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Baltimore resident Tracie Swando and her parents, both of whom are over the age of 65, just returned from a cruise.

“(There were) lots of hand sanitizer stations, wash stations even before you board and then once you board there’s more hand sanitizer stations, there’s more wash stations,” Swando said.

Despite ships like the Grand Princess seeing multiple cases of COVID-19, Swando said she felt like staffers on her cruise were taking hygiene very seriously.

“I felt safer being on a cruise ship than some of my local grocery stores,” she said.

On Sunday, Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas departed from the Port of Baltimore. The company is now allowing customers to cancel any cruise departing before July 31 up to 48 hours before departure.

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A number of cruise companies are now screening passengers before they board, saying those with flu-like symptoms may not even be able to get on the ship.

Annie Rose Ramos