US cruise lines are eager to sail from Florida in July after the pandemic stops, but the governor of this state prevents them from demanding the vaccination tests they need to do so and neither side gives its arm to twist.
Florida “is the cruise capital of the world,” says Doug Parker, editor of Cruise Radio. “It would be a great disappointment if they don’t agree.”
If neither gives in, “the ships would have to start sailing from other ports that accept them, because they are trying to do the right thing.”
The significance of the debate was evident on Thursday, when it was reported that two people tested positive for COVID-19 on the Celebrity Millennium, which sailed through Caribbean islands this week with 95% of passengers vaccinated. It was the first cruise ship to sail in North America since the sailing ban was lifted.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) authorized the restart of cruise ships in May, but recommends that more than 95% of people on board be vaccinated. Otherwise, the sanitary protocols are strict.
The lines then announced the dates of their first cruises with a vaccinated population, but in other destinations outside of Florida.
The reason is that Governor Ron DeSantis signed that same month, in the name of “individual freedom,” a law that prevents companies from requiring their clients to provide proof of vaccination.
The measure takes effect on July 1, just when the cruise ships want to restart operations.
“While on the one hand Governor DeSantis says he wants to recover jobs and tourism, on the other hand he is his worst enemy, because he is preventing them from asking for that proof,” says Parker.
But “our state policy is our state policy,” insists the governor.
According to his critics, his is a political decision to attract the vote of supporters of former President Donald Trump in Florida in the face of his possible re-election race in 2022.
The result of the arm wrestling between DeSantis and the three main cruise lines in the world – which are based in Miami – is a calendar with confusing and changing sanitary measures.
Carnival will request the vaccination to sail from Texas, but has not given details about a scheduled July 4 departure from Miami.
This Monday, Norwegian Cruise Line – which had already threatened to leave Florida ports altogether – directly challenged the governor by informing that it will require proof of vaccination on all its cruises, including those that leave the “Sunshine State.”
“We are in communication with your team [de DeSantis] to offer a safe experience to our passengers when we sail from the cruise capital of the world ”, said its CEO, Frank Del Rio.
Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean Group decided the opposite. He had announced that he would require these tests to passengers and crew, but last Friday he declined. Now “strongly recommends” the vaccine and will subject “other protocols” to those who do not have it.
The first cruise to sail from Florida will be one of Celebrity Cruises (part of Royal Caribbean), from Fort Lauderdale on June 26. Before, a “test” will be released on June 20, from Miami.
“It’s confusing,” says Jim Walker, a Florida maritime attorney whose blog, Cruise Law News, reported the tragedy of cruise ships stranded at sea by the pandemic on a daily basis last year.
The return to the sea “is inconsistent; they are scattered statements, where each company tries to solve a problem in a different way ”.
With information from .