Florida’s public health officials issued a vaccine exemption pass for the cruise industry, and now that the state legislature has passed a legislation preventing the CDC from issuing the waiver, it is unclear if Florida’s cruise industry can restart without the federal permission.

A new law that will take effect starting on March 1, requires Florida residents to provide proof they have received vaccines for certain diseases, including measles, polio, whooping cough and mumps, before they can board a cruise ship. The law is the result of a 2014 outbreak on a Disney cruise ship when a young boy contracted measles and it was spread to at least 142 people on the ship. The law is aimed at reducing health risks to Floridian travelers.

Celebrity Cruises has announced that the liner Celebrity Edge will depart in late June and arrive on the 26th. June in Fort Lauderdale. Carnival Cruise Line has received permission to sail from three U.S. ports (including two in Florida), and Royal Caribbean is preparing to sail from Florida. There was a lot of good news for the cruise industry this week. But there may be a catch. Florida Governor DeSantis has again made it clear that he is not amused by the Centers for Disease Control’s demand that only vaccinated guests be allowed on cruises. Florida’s governor recently signed a new law that prohibits businesses from requiring customers to show a vaccination card.

Penalty for requesting a certificate of vaccination

A statement from the governor clarified his stance on Celebrity Cruises’ first cruise in the U.S. in more than 15 months. While the governor has presented himself as a strong supporter of the cruise industry, he has also spoken out against vaccination requirements. The fine can be as high as $5,000 if a cruise line requires a passenger to present a passport with their immunizations. The statement reads as follows: Celebrity Cruises’ vaccination requirements violate the spirit of Governor’s Executive Order 21-81, which bans vaccination cards and protects the basic rights of Florida residents – including the right to medical privacy. Such a policy would also violate Florida’s new law banning vaccination cards, SB 2006, which went into effect last January 1. Companies doing business in Florida, including Celebrity Cruises, should immediately stop imposing such discriminatory policies on people. Businesses that violate this law risk a $5,000 fine each time they ask a customer to show proof of vaccination in order to receive a service. While the cruise lines say they see no problem with the new law, Governor DeSantis sees it differently. The question now is whether the governor’s bill has any legal effect on cruise lines. photo posted: Governor DeSantis word-image-13429

Basic maintenance

Some say DeSantis is just reacting to some of his supporters. It remains to be seen whether this is the case or not. But Jim Walker, a well-known maritime lawyer who is critical of cruises, told USA Today: It’s entirely possible that Governor DeSantis is blinking when he speaks like this, and that the Florida law will be repealed, but he seems determined to make a direct political move to please his base. Christina Pushow, who works as a press secretary for Governor DeSantis, disagrees. In her statement, she said the requirement to vaccinate cruise passengers not only violates civil liberties, but also discriminates against families with children enjoying their vacation. The CDC does not have the legal authority to impose requirements on cruise lines. If the CDC and the Department of Health do not have the authority to impose requirements on cruise lines, it stands to reason that the same should be true of Governor DeSantis’ bill. Dr. Jay Wolfson, a professor of public health and law at the University of South Florida, told WTSP 10 Tampa Bay: You’re not a Florida corporation. I don’t think any of them really are. Cruise ships should be vaccinated, not only to protect themselves and other passengers, but also to ensure the economic viability of the cruise industry. Although most cruise lines have offices in the state of Florida, most are officially based elsewhere. The CDC’s authority trumps DeSantis’ authority over cruise ship health regulations, but the cruise line will likely have to sue the governor to make that clear. There is a solution that could consign DeSantis’ bill to the dustbin: a federal law requiring proof of vaccination prevails over state law. word-image-13430

What do the cruise lines say?

Celebrity Cruises does not appear to have been affected by the threats from the governor’s office. The cruise line said it would go ahead with its first cruise from the United States since March with vaccinated customers: Our commitment to sail with fully vaccinated crew members and guests remains, as this provides a reasonable level of assurance that we are doing all we can to ensure the safety of our guests, crew members and the communities we visit. Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, made it clear earlier this month that he thinks a compromise is possible, but if not, he will not withdraw his ships from Florida: After all, cruise ships have engines, propellers and rudders, and if for some reason we can’t operate in the state of Florida, there are other states from which we operate, and we can operate out of the Caribbean with a ship that would otherwise go to Florida. The bill would also jeopardize simulcast flights scheduled for June. Both Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruises are planning these test cruises. The problem is that the CDC still requires cruise lines to check the vaccination status of passengers on board. Which the DeSantis Act would prohibit. This has cast a dark shadow over what could have been a festive month, as one of the last industries to close its doors resumes operations. If it turns out that the law has a legal basis, we could see more repeals. word-image-13431

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Cruise Lines Reopen?

Cruise restrictions to prevent the spread of disease from international travelers to Florida are fairly common, but these exceptions are always temporary. While the state has banned passengers from bringing certain infectious diseases back into the US, it is possible for some passengers to fly back into the state as long as they are compliant with the requirements of their country of origin. Of course, this news can’t come soon enough for those involved in the tourism industry. With the recent announcement from Carnival, Resorts, and Royal Caribbean that they are reopening their cruises, the question becomes whether their actions will impact their guests who had been scheduled to embark on their next cruise. With the recent announcement from Carnival, Resorts, and Royal Caribbean that they are reopening their cruises, the question becomes whether their actions will impact their guests who had been scheduled to embark on their next cruise.

Do cruises restart in 2020?

This is a follow up to my first onlineinterviews article about the cruise line’s plans to restart its ships in 2020. In the article I described how the cruise line would be using the same ships in 2020 that were used in 2009 for a different cruise line in a different location. This time the cruise line is planning on using the same ships for a different cruise line in a different location, which is a big problem for the cruise line. The cruise lines already have a difficult enough time meeting the demands of their passengers, given the lower demand for cruises, and the fact that two of the cruise ships are based in Florida. So, what’s the problem? The cruise line’s plans for the 2020 cruise were delayed due to the US government If the people of Florida vote to pass a bill banning non-medical vaccine exemptions, cruise line officials will have a hard time deciding when to restart their voyages. The issue could arise as early as next year because the cruise industry depends on Florida for roughly 40 percent of its passengers.

Can you go on a cruise with an expired passport?

To get a sense of how cruise lines are dealing with the US Department of State’s recent ruling that makes it difficult for US citizens to get on a US-bound cruise ship, we spoke with a spokesperson for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) who said The Cruise Line is pleased to note that the Travel Advisory has been rescinded and that passengers will be able to make bookings to the extent that there is sufficient space. A lot of people travel to and from the United States with little worry that they will be refused entry. However, the news that Royal Caribbean will no longer allow passengers to begin their trip on its cruise ships until at least two weeks after they’ve left the country has caused a lot of concern among travelers. Many people will no longer be able to travel with Royal Caribbean, if they have only up to three months after their trip to return to the United States.

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