MIAMI (WSVN) - Cruise ships docked and departing from PortMiami are taking additional precautions due to the spread of the coronavirus.

The U.S. State Department over the weekend asked all Americans to not travel by cruise ship because of the virus, which has caused many cruise companies’ stocks to drastically drop.

“U.S. citizens, particularity travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship,” a statement from the department read in part.

Jack Hickey, a maritime lawyer, believes cruising is safe as long as mega ships take the proper precautions.

“That’s an extreme statement, and we’re now in uncharted waters,” Hickey said. “We would hope it’s going to be lifted soon because there are protocols that the cruise industry can engage in.”

Vice President Mike Pence was in South Florida over the weekend assuring travelers the cruise line industry is taking additional steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, like enhanced screenings and new quarantine standards.

“It is safe for healthy Americans to travel,” Pence said. “We anticipate what will result in significant changes in the practices of our cruise lines.”

However, several passengers at the port on Monday said they do not have too many concerns, because the cruise lines have been sending them updates and letting them know of the precautions that have been put in place.

Despite the precautions, some passengers are taking their own precautions because the virus has forced some ships to remain at sea longer than expected.

“We’ve been taking Airborne for like a week, and we’re just going to make sure we don’t touch our face and wash our hands,” a passenger said.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez also said with the state department’s ruling, he knows that cruise companies are going to be making major changes.

Gimenez said he hopes that when those changes go into effect, the state department may change their idea of whether or not it’s smart for travelers to head out on the mega ships.

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