"The cruise ship and the industry have done a lot to mitigate any issues there might be by checking passengers and the simple thing is to wash your hands and don't touch your face or nose. I'm not worried, but I'm prepared. I've brought extra books, and extra medication."
Being trapped aboard a ship with thousands of people as the new coronavirus spreads around the world isn't the kind of serene vacation envisioned by most travelers, many of whom are delaying or canceling planned cruises at a time when bookings should be at their busiest.
Cruise lines, meanwhile, have struggled as they try to reassure passengers at the same time some of their ships are being turned away from ports by officials nervous about the virus' spread.
They also have rerouted Asia-based ships to other destinations such as Australia and Alaska and are turning away potential travelers who have recently been in certain regions of Asia and Europe.
The new virus has infected more than 83,000 people globally, the vast majority of them in mainland China.
Uncertainty over the extent of the outbreak caused stocks of the largest cruise line companies to plummet over the past week. But the fear thus far seems to be psychological: While travel advisers have noticed fewer last-minute bookings for the normally popular time that extends from
January through March, they said they weren't seeing many cancellations yet.
Cruise lines have posted advisories warning travelers they won't allow passengers to board if they have been to China, Hong Kong and Macau in the past 14 days.
Royal Caribbean also was denying travelers who visited Iran, South Korea and the Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto.
The Bahamas, one of the most popular cruise destinations, was not allowing passengers who had traveled to China in the past 20 days.
Stephanie Biege, a travel advisor for Florida-based Lotus Travel Concierge, said travelers scheduled to set sail soon have called with concerns about the precautions cruise lines were taking.
Travelers boarding the Royal Caribbean's Brilliance on Thursday in Tampa, Florida did not seem concerned with the spread of the new virus.
Some said the company had been emailing passengers for weeks, telling them that if they were sick, they would get a refund.
Rita Carnero, of Orlando, Florida, said she was prepared if another passenger got sick.
"I've brought extra books and extra medications," she said. And if the ship gets quarantined? She shrugged: "I'd read a lot."
The Cruise Lines International Association, which represents around 90% of global cruise capacity, says eight of its 272 affiliated ships are in Asia.
The association says Asia represents only 10% of its sailings while Europe and Mediterranean have about 28% of the market.
The Caribbean has the largest share at 32%.
There have been no confirmed cases of the illness in Florida or the Caribbean.