For the millions of Americans that work in the tourism industry and depend on travel to make a living, the pandemic has been a year of uncertainty, panic and desperation. With travel almost non-existent compared to previous years, many industries have struggled and have been forced to find new solutions to new problems – and that’s certainly the case in the cruise industry.
Whilst some cruise lines have taken to moving their home ports in order to resume travel, the Governor of Florida has taken another route – threatening legal action. Here’s a look at what has happened, and how Americans can still go on cruises this year despite the ban.
Florida Demands Ban Lifted – Information For Travelers
Florida is widely considered to be the cruise capital of the US, and is home to three of the world’s busiest ports – Miami, Port Canaveral near Kennedy Space Center, and Port Everglades near Fort Lauderdale. In a typical year, millions set sail on cruises from Florida, generating billions of dollars for the sunshine state’s economy. However, with the CDC’s no sail order recently extended until November 2021, the industry looks as though it will struggle on for most of the year.
However, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis is determined to stop this from happening. At a meeting with industry chiefs from leading cruise lines Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival and Disney at Port Canaveral, DeSantis and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody revealed that they were considering their legal options if the CDC did not allow cruises to restart from the state by summer.
DeSantis argued that the advent of wider testing and vaccination means that the cruise industry is no more dangerous than flying or rail travel, both of which have been allowed to resume in much more of a capacity than cruises have. Around the world, many cruises have resumed with thorough protocols and procedures in place to prevent transmission of the virus, with no major outbreaks attributed to the ships.
DeSantis highlighted the fact that Port Canaveral alone has lost an estimated $86 million over the course of the pandemic, and that 80% of the Floridians employed by cruise lines – around 120,000 – are now unemployed. As a result of these figures, DeSantis added that it would be “malpractice” if he and the Attorney General didn’t look at all their options – including legal action – to vindicate the interests of the state.
The Governor stressed that making sure that ships could sail in the summer was “really, really important,” and that “Americans are still going to be taking cruises, they’re just going to be taking them from the Bahamas or Bermuda,” referring to the cruise lines that have recently moved their home ports in order to be able to sail once more.
How Americans Can Still Enjoy Cruises
Whilst cruises departing from the US are banned, several different cruises lines have gotten around this problem by moving their home ports to countries where sailing is not prohibited. Royal Caribbean has moved its ship Adventure of the Seas to Nassau, in The Bahamas, whilst Celebrity Cruises has moved to St. Maarten.
Should the ban not be lifted, more ships and cruise lines may also move their home ports to allow travel to restart. Whilst the moving of home ports means Americans can fly to these countries in order to be able to cruise, they must still adhere to the entry restrictions in place for any country they are flying to.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories