As coronavirus outbreak grows, cruise industry grapples with an unflattering spotlight

Anxiety within cruise ship industry puts spotlight on Hawaii's ports.

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - More government officials want to stop cruise ships from entering Hawaii’s ports as the global coronavirus outbreak continues to spread.

Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green and state Rep. Gene Ward are asking for a 60-day ship stoppage.

“Essentially what we have are floating germ factories called cruise ships and they’re coming in,” Ward said. “Those who are coming in from the ship are from dozens of countries and we have to make sure that they don’t come in and infect our population."

Their pleas come as the U.S. State Department has warned U.S. citizens against traveling on cruise ships, especially those with underlying health conditions, and in the wake of several clusters of coronavirus on ships in the US and internationally.

State records show about 70 cruise ships visit Hawaii every year, bringing about 250,000 visitors.

Cruise ship passengers Jean-Marc and Marie-Jeanne Larocque are visiting from Canada.

They are traveling on board the Eurodam, which docked in Honolulu Sunday morning and departed Monday evening.

[Read more: Green: US should temporarily stop cruise ship travel given links to coronavirus]

"Every second door there’s a washing place,” Larocque said, referring to hygiene on the ship.

According to its website, the Eurodam can hold 2,104 passengers.

"Personally, I haven't felt at all worried,” said Danielle Greene, a violinist aboard the ship.

Nearby at Aloha Tower, some business owners who primarily service cruise ship passengers say they're being extra cautious by cleaning often.

"The rule now is after every five to 10 customers, we're cleaning the entire place, including the register. Any place a person comes in contact with, we're cleaning it,” said Onika Tirado, owner of Teapresso Bar Aloha Tower.

The Pride of America was docked at Kahului Harbor on Maui on Monday.

Although just an inter-island cruise ship, some residents want more testing and more screenings.

“People are disembarking by the dozens,” Makawao resident Connie Salemi said. “They’re just coming down the ramp and going right across the street to Whole Foods and I just saw a whole group go into the mall and I decided not to go into the mall and I’m heading home.”

The Coast Guard and the federal government will make the final call on whether cruises will be halted.

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