How the Coronavirus outbreak is impacting Valley travel agencies

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- On the 14th floor of the Grand Princess ship is a Merced couple waiting for word on when they will be able to finally get off.

"We still haven't received our luggage tags yet," Denise Turner said. "Once we get those, then that means we can get off the boat."

For now, they are packed up and among the more than 2,000 passengers docked in Oakland after a tropical cruise to the Hawaiian Islands.

Luckily, their room has a balcony. Her parents, who are also on the ship, have only a window.

"They've not been able to go outside at all," Don Turner said. "So my mom is going a little stir crazy. They started fresh air walks yesterday for inside cabins, but they haven't made it to theirs yet."

The Turners feel fine right now. They've been on cruises many times before. They departed with some jitters but figured the likelihood wasn't too high of a coronavirus outbreak.

The State Department's warning Monday to not travel on cruises has Lori McGrath of The Travel Address in Fresno answering a lot of questions.

She's getting updates daily, including from travel insurance companies. Right now, none are covering cancellations due to worried passengers potentially getting sick on a ship.

"They won't cover it because there's a chance that I'm going to get the flu or the COVID-19," McGrath said. "But they are evolving as well, so they are saying, 'Okay, if places are closed, or you can't travel there, then obviously they are going to have to cover those instances.'"

So far, insurance companies are only refunding passengers whose destination or connector is closed due to the virus. Peter Kobets was set to leave in April on the same ship under quarantine in Oakland.

He decided to hold off for now and let the ship get cleaned and aired out.

"So I came here to the travel agency to find out whether they were giving a full refund or credit, and they gave us credit, and it's good until December 2021," Kobets said.

Some cruise companies are offering incentives and credits for not postponing or canceling trips.

As for the current passengers onboard the Grand Princess, they will be taking charter busses to either Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield or Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego. They will be under quarantine there for 14 days.
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