Cruise ships will bring 100K people to US ports this week. Amid coronavirus, will they be welcome?

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SAN FRANCISCO – By the time the coronavirus-stricken Grand Princess glided across this city’s fabled bay Monday, the massive cruise ship had galvanized the world’s attention.

That dramatic scene may well have multiple sequels: Dozens of cruise ships are poised to hit U.S. cities as some port authorities, including those in Monterey and Santa Barbara, close their docks to large passenger ships. All embarked well before cruise lines started cancelling future cruises last week.

At least 30 cruise ships at sea list port destinations in the USA this week, according to a USA TODAY satellite tracking analysis of 380 of the world’s largest cruise ships. Data from real-time vessel monitoring systems was merged with passenger and crew capacities to produce the snapshot.

That means upward of 100,000 people – 70% of them passengers – could look to come ashore at a range of U.S. ports, based on the average capacity of the ships from cruisemapper.com. Since this is prime Caribbean cruising season, more than a dozen of those 30 ships are bound for the Florida cities of Key West, Cape Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Next up: the Alaskan season, due to start in early April, with stops in Seattle and Juneau.

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