10:00 AMSunday, January 16, 2022
When the temperature sometimes struggles to reach zero, it’s a great time for Minnesotans to think about escaping to warmer climes. But the CDC just issued a recommendation saying Americans should not travel on cruise lines due to an increase in COVID-19 cases caused by the contagious variant of Omicron. The news had a huge impact on local travel agents.
“I think we’re just hoping to get this over with,” said Ted Blank, a travel consultant from Travel Leaders in Maple Grove.
Blank says cruising remains a popular way for Minnesotans to escape to other parts of the globe, but the CDC’s recent warning has travelers worried.
“We definitely had people canceling cruises,” Blank said. “We have definitely had people rescheduling cruises for a later date. At present, this still represents a smaller percentage of our bookings. I think cruise lines are really taking the time to review the protocols they have and doing everything they can to be safe.
Blank says cruises require all passengers and crew to be vaccinated, so travel agents say people aren’t so worried about whether they’ll get sick on the cruise, but whether they’ll be forced to quarantine if they test positive.
Blank says that since cruises resumed in June 2021, 1% of passengers have had to quarantine after testing positive.
“Now the good news is that cruise lines have very advanced medical treatment on board ships,” he said. “So if you were sick, there would be someone there to take care of you. Some cruise lines, if you test positive, will board you on a private jet and take you home. So many options for you.
Meanwhile, travel agents are encouraging people to purchase travel insurance. This gives travelers a safety net to cover expenses in case something happens during their trip or they have to cancel their plans altogether.