Travel Advisors Face Daunting Cruise Business Shake-Up From Coronavirus

Maria Lenhart, Skift – Mar 03, 2020 10:00 am

The coronavirus is dealing a blow to travel in general, but ship quarantines and other factors may be making cruise especially vulnerable. Travel advisors are scurrying to chart the best way forward for their worried clients. — Maria Lenhart

This year’s wave season, the annual first quarter when cruise sales hit their peak, was supposed to be smooth sailing for travel advisors. Thanks to the coronavirus, however, it’s bringing cancellations, itinerary changes, postponements, and a whole lot of uncertainty.

The past week has been one of long, hectic days for travel advisors like Deedra Chandler of AAA Travel in Wilmington, North Carolina, whose clients, shaken by the steadily worsening news reports of global outbreaks, are rethinking their cruise plans to just about everywhere.

“We’ve got people booked on cruises to Alaska next August who are asking if they should cancel,” she said. “Another client with an upcoming cruise around Italy has decided to postpone the trip until next year. We were able to change it, but there were penalties.”

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