It’s taken a while, but things are looking up for the cruise industry. Where once cruise lines were forced to keep their fleet docked with little end in sight, many have now begun sailing once again, with cruise vacations a viable option once more.
However, the resumption of cruises across the US hasn’t been without its problems – and many of the problems facing the industry are coming from the cruise capital of the US, Florida. Despite the state’s ban on asking for proof of vaccination, some cruise lines are determined to ask for the vaccination status of their passengers. Here’s a look at which cruise lines are affected.
Florida’s Vaccine Passport Ban – Information For Travelers
The state of Florida introduced a ban on businesses asking for proof of vaccination that became effective from July 1st. Championed by Governor Ron DeSantis, he said:
“In Florida, your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected and no business or government entity will be able to deny you services based on your decision.”
However, the ban on vaccine passports threw a spanner into the work of the cruise industry’s long-awaited return to action. The resumption of cruises was dependent on them restarting with a high number of vaccinated passengers and staff, as outlined by the CDC. However, under Florida’s new law, asking for the vaccination status of a passenger would leave each cruise line liable to be fined, causing a standoff between the state, the CDC and the cruise industry.
Cruise Lines To Ask For Vaccination Status – What Travelers Should Know
Despite the threat of being fined, some cruise lines intend to go ahead with their plans to ask passengers in Florida for their vaccination status. Two of the largest cruise lines operating in the US, Norwegian and Carnival, will not be budging when it comes to asking for proof of vaccination for passengers – despite facing a penalty of up to $5,000 per violation.
Other cruise lines have already changed their requirements specifically for cruises departing from Florida. Celebrity Cruises dropped the need for Florida passengers to present proof of inoculation, whilst Royal Caribbean will be asking for proof at all ports except for Florida, in order to comply with the law. Royal Caribbean has also announced that unvaccinated passengers who are sailing with them must have their own insurance, and that those who refuse to present evidence of vaccination will be prohibited from accessing many areas onboard the ship.
Addressing the stance taken by the likes of Norwegian and Carnival, a spokesperson for Ron DeSantis said:
“No corporation is above the law. A couple of the biggest cruise lines have revised their policies, and we expect others to follow their example.”
Norwegian’s first sailing from Florida is scheduled for August 15th, by which the situation in the state could have changed and it may become a non-issue for the company. However, Carnival’s first departure from Florida is on July 18th, leaving little time for either the state or the cruise line to back down from their current stance. In just two weeks’ time, the eyes of the cruise industry will be on Carnival to see how their stance is handled, with several other cruise lines with departures slated from Florida later on in the year yet to change their vaccination requirement.
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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