Miami-based Royal Caribbean, one of America’s largest cruise lines, will resume operations in July and will not fight a state of Florida law that bans vaccine passports.
Instead, the cruise vacation company recommends that its passengers are vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Guests are strongly recommended to set sail fully vaccinated, if they are eligible,” the company said in a press release. “Those who are unvaccinated or unable to verify vaccination will be required to undergo testing and follow other protocols, which will be announced at a later date.”
Crew members will be required to be vaccinated, and so will passengers departing from Seattle on cruises to Alaska, along with those departing from international ports like The Bahamas.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) recently signed a bill into law banning companies from forcing would-be patrons from proving they are vaccinated. Those companies are still allowed to take other measures, like temperature checks.
Facing a potential fight with the cruise ship industry, DeSantis refused to back down.
“We are going to enforce Florida law,” DeSantis he said. “I mean, we have Florida law. We have laws that protect the people and the privacy of our citizens, and we are going to enforce it.”
Norwegian Cruise Lines has considered pulling its fleet from Florida, but there is no official word from the company on its decision.
“We hope that this doesn’t become a legal football or a political football, but at the end of the day, cruise ships have motors, propellers and rudders, and God forbid we can’t operate in the state of Florida for whatever reason, then there are other states that we do operate from,” that company’s CEO Frank Del Rio said in mid-May. “And we can operate from the Caribbean for ships that otherwise would have gone to Florida.”
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is overseeing the resumption of cruise vacations. That is a sticking point for DeSantis and the state of Florida, too. The state has filed a lawsuit against the federal government which seeks to strip the CDC of its authority to dictate the terms on which cruise lines can operate.
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