State Department warns travelers to stay off cruise ships

A warning issued by the State Department for travelers to avoid cruise ships has put a wrench in some Long Islanders travel plans.

Julie Johnson, of Hicksville, just found out about the warning. Johnson says she recently booked a cruise for her family to go to Mexico during Easter week.

"I've paid for it in full," says Johnson. "There's ten of us in the family, so what are we going to do? It's a lot of money."
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The Centers for Disease Control is also warning travelers against long plane trips because they would be in close quarters.

Christina Panaou, of Syosset, says she canceled her flight to Cyprus after hearing the news.

"I don't want to be 12 hours in a closed plane," says Panaou. "You don't know who's next to you."

One of the government's top health experts says those at highest risk from the virus are the elderly with underlying conditions.

According to the World Health Organization, the coronavirus has now infected more than 100,000 people and is having a major impact on the cruise industry.
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The Grand Princess, which is now docked in California, has 21 confirmed cases aboard the ship and all 3,500 people aboard the ship must remain quarantined for 14 days.

Lindenhurst natives Laurie and Chris Garrick are among those trapped in their cabins. Laurie Garrick says travelers should cancel their cruise plans because it's not worth the risk.

"Why would you risk the possibility of getting it, possibly being one of those with a compromised system that's going to maybe even die from it and then never get any other vacation?" says Laurie Garrick.

Some cruise companies are offering refunds without cancellation fees or providing vouchers to travel at a later date. Check with your cruise line if you are booked for a vacation.
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