Norwegians threaten to defy Desantis on a fully vaccinated cruise


Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announced on Monday plans to resume a cruise from Miami with fully vaccinated passengers in August.

The cruise company’s announcement does not indicate that DeSantis has agreed to exempt the cruise company from his proclamation banning companies from requesting vaccines, but that some compromise has been made between Norway and the governor. It didn’t suggest either.

Instead, there is confusion about cruise company plans that have recently announced various strategies for resuming operations. Some plans include test voyages, some require vaccines, and some welcome people on board at a social distance from masks.

Cruise fans and local workers are wondering when the industry will get going in Florida.

“The fact that the general public and businesses and workers who rely on resuming cruises are forced to read tea leaves is a problem,” said Bob Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University. Said.

Meanwhile, Carnival Cruise Line has announced that a fully vaccinated voyage will take place from Galveston, Texas. Details of plans for southern Florida have yet to be set out in consultations with state and federal authorities, the company said.

Royal Caribbean takes the opposite approach, strongly recommending vaccination, but not mandatory, suggesting that passengers who cannot prove vaccination will face testing and other “protocols”. .. Royal Caribbean also said it would continue to work with the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and several state and local authorities on future cruise requirements.

The Norwegian announcement suggested that they wanted a friendly solution to the conflict with Desantis rather than requiring passengers to be vaccinated.

In a news release listing upcoming cruises, Norwegian President and CEO Frank del Rio praises DeSantis for publicly supporting a Florida-based cruise company in March and resumes cruises. In March, cruise company executives asked the CDC to develop clear guidelines for the availability of vaccines before they became widespread in a series of complex resumption guidelines issued last fall. I was dissatisfied with the fact that the CDC didn’t tell me how it would affect me.

“We would like to thank Governor DeSantis and Florida for fighting to support our industry,” said Del Rio. “His leadership brings the CDC to the table. We are currently in contact with his staff and lawyers to ensure that passengers departing from the world’s cruise capitals have the safest cruise experience. “

Still, by including a voyage by the Miami-based Norwegian Gem, Norwegian effectively fines Desantis boldly on cruise ships or uses his authority if no compromise is reached. I tried to stop it, Mr. Jarvis said.

Norwegian’s departure from Miami would “play a very high level chicken game” on both sides, which could backfire on one or the other, he said.

The Norwegians said, “To save the face, we must put DeSantis in a place where we have to delve into his position that the CDC does not have the authority to demand proof of vaccination,” Jarvis said. Risks having to pull away thousands of passengers when they appear on the pier. Entrained are the general public and, more importantly, all businesses and workers who rely on resuming cruises. “

The DeSantis office did not answer questions about the Norwegian announcement.

In April, shortly after DeSantis publicly announced its support for cruise ships, DeSantis and the state filed a federal proceeding against the CDC’s authority to prevent cruise ships from departing from US ports.

Then, by chance or not, cruise company executives revealed that they had begun to work closely with the CDC and simplified many of the resumption conditions that the CDC found vague and annoying. ..

The biggest revision is a complex one aimed at verifying the effectiveness of pre-vaccination safety protocols by cruise companies if they prove that 95% of passengers and crew on a particular voyage are vaccinated. It was the announcement of the CDC that the requirements for conducting a “test cruise” could be skipped.

That option drove a wedge between Desantis and a cruise company seeking to facilitate resumption without compromise in his position to ban vaccine requirements.

The current remaining problem with DeSantis is that vaccinated cruises are not possible unless there are a few possibilities.

• DeSantis succumbs to his position that cruise companies cannot require customers to certify vaccines.

• DeSantis agrees to the compromise and allows the governor to claim that his ban was not ignored, while exempting the cruise ship company from his decree banning “vaccine passports”.

• The cruise line resumes operations amid threats that DeSantis will impose fines or use his authority to thwart them.

Two of the country’s largest cruise companies, Royal Caribbean and Carnival, have so far chosen to conduct test cruises in Florida in accordance with pre-vaccination safety guidelines, hoping for a compromise. I’ve avoided conflict.

Royal Caribbean said it chose not to require vaccines on Florida-based Royal Caribbean International brand cruises, which are popular with families with unvaccinated children. Because it is difficult to achieve a 95% vaccination rate.

In Friday’s announcement of the upcoming operation of the cruise ship, passengers are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated. Passengers who have not been vaccinated or cannot confirm vaccination must be tested and follow other undetermined protocols. The CDC’s guidance on vaccine-free voyages requires wearing masks and ensuring social distance outside the guest’s state room.

However, Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Cruises brand, a luxury brand popular with adults who like long voyages, announced a fully vaccinated cruise from the Port Everglades on June 26 as a Norwegian. May set up the same showdown as Desantis.

Carnival announced plans to mandate vaccination on voyages departing Galveston, Texas in July, including Carnival Vista voyage on July 3 and Carnival Breeze voyage on July 15. Others Carnival brands are also demanding vaccines. This includes ships from Seattle to Alaska this summer.

The Carnival announcement on Monday acknowledged that the CDC protocol for unvaccinated voyages, which is legal in Florida, is still unattractive to customers who are forced to wear masks and practice social distance on board. Was included.

The current CDC requirements for unvaccinated cruises make it very difficult to provide the experience guests expect, especially given the large number of families with young children sailing with us. I will, “said the cruise company.

According to the Carnival release, the company will continue to work with both Florida and the CDC on Carnival Horizon Sailing, and will provide all booking guests with up-to-date information on these sailing-specific protocols by Friday. “apparently.

After a failed mediation effort to resolve a state lawsuit against the CDC last week, the DeSantis office denounced the CDC’s regulations, calling them “dysfunctional,” “ridiculous, illegal,” and unvaccinated. Vaccinated guests insisted on the authorities’ requirement to wear a face mask. It was “unfounded” and “anti-scientific.”

Norwegian may have included the next Miami-based voyage in its announcement on Monday, Jarvis said.

Chris Gray Faust, Editor-in-Chief of CruiseCritic.com, a consumer-focused website, said the fact that all three major cruise companies recently mentioned ongoing talks with Florida authorities is positive. It can be regarded as a sign.

Vaccinated cruises from Celebrity Edge’s Port Everglades are rapidly approaching, but Gray Faust has enough time for Norwegians to revise the details of their August cruise from Miami by August. Said there is.

“Many cruisers who are beginning to plan their future voyages are certainly looking for details now, but what kind of conversations will take place between now and in the future, and what protocols will be developed. It’s interesting to see what could be done, “she said.

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