Norwegian plans Florida sailings, stands by vaccine rule
MIAMI (AP) — Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings on Monday announced plans to set sail from two Florida ports requiring passengers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 despite state legislation banning businesses from asking for proof.
Norwegian announced sailings from New York, Los Angeles, Port Canaveral and Miami.
Carnival Cruise Line, also based in Miami, announced sailings from the Port of Galveston, Texas, with vaccinated guests and was working with Florida officials for a ship to leave from PortMiami.
The cruise lines’ plans appear to be at odds with the new state law. The sailings are contingent on obtaining a certificate from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it remains unclear how the plans can be reconciled with Florida law. Norwegian said in a statement that it is contact with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office on the requirements.
“We are currently in communication with his staff and legal counsel to ensure that we can offer the safest cruise experience for our passengers departing from the cruise capital of the world,” said Norwegian’s CEO, Frank Del Rio.
In April, DeSantis signed an order banning businesses from requiring customers to show proof of vaccination and prohibiting state agencies from issuing so-called vaccine passports that document COVID-19 vaccinations and test results. The governor argues the legislation was meant to preserve individual freedom and medical privacy.
Royal Caribbean International said Friday that eight of its ships will resume U.S. voyages in July and August with trips leaving Florida, Texas and Washington state ports. That company said that passengers are “strongly recommended” to get vaccinated, adding that unvaccinated passengers must be tested for the virus and follow other measures.
Disney Cruise Line said last week that the CDC approved a request to conduct a two-night simulation cruise later this month departing from Port Canaveral.