For weeks, we at Cruzely have told you about the ongoing tensions between the cruise industry and the CDC over the resumption of cruising.
The cruise industry has stated in certain terms that it wants to resume sailing this summer, and that the CDC’s current Conditional Sail Order is burdensome and outdated.
Now, the state of Florida is putting its weight behind the industry. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced today that his state will sue the Federal Government and CDC over the current orders.
“I’m happy to announce that on behalf of the tens of thousands of Floridians, whose livelihood depends on the viability of an open cruise industry, today, Florida is fighting back. We’re filing a lawsuit against the Federal Government and the CDC demanding that our cruise ships be reopened immediately,” DeSantis said at a press conference at the Port of Miami.
“This will be something that we believe we have every legal right to insist upon. We don’t believe the Federal government has the right to mothball a major industry for over a year based on very little evidence and very little data. And I think we have a good chance for success.”
WATCH LIVE: Press Conference in Miamihttps://t.co/hwzX2qVXNb
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) April 8, 2021
Florida’s Governor also had strong words for the current restrictions and the impact they have on those employed in the cruise industry. He alluded as well to the fact that cruises are now planned to sail from The Bahamas this summer, instead of his state of Florida.
“People are still going to go on cruises. You know what they’re going to do? Instead of flying to Miami, spending money to stay in our hotels, spending money to eat in our restaurants before they get on the ship, they’re going to fly to The Bahamas, and they’re going to get on the ship in The Bahamas,” DeSantis said.
“And they’re going to spend money in The Bahamas, and they’re going to do the same thing they would have done, it just won’t be helping the state of Florida. And it won’t be helping our folks here who really depend on it. How does that make any sense? It doesn’t. It’s irrational, and it’s something we don’t think can continue any longer.”
Why Florida Took This Step Now
This decision seems to be spurred by the latest rounds of cancellations among major cruise lines, such as Carnival. As well, despite calls from the cruise industry in recent weeks, the CDC has shown no signs of amending its Conditional Sail Order.
“What we heard yesterday were announcements that cruises are again delaying and cancelling because of this [Biden] administration,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said during the event.
“Because this administration is not willing to engage in the details, address the evolving, now relevant updated medical, scientific data, evaluate how vaccines are affecting the health of our communities and our abilities to cruise safely. They are not willing to revamp and consider lifting the ‘no sail orders’ and allowing us to resume this thriving industry with reasonable health protocols.”
The Next Step in Growing Tensions
This announcement marks a new step in the ongoing battle between the CDC and the cruise industry. Up until now, the disagreement had been held to just strong words from the industry about their desire to get back to sailing. This included multiple groups detailing the current framework as outdated and/or burdensome.
As well, the industry has pointed out repeatedly that places like casinos, theme parks, and sports stadiums are allowed to operate, but cruises are not.
And just yesterday, Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald made the point that people can’t cruise from the United States, but can go elsewhere to sail.
“An interesting point is, today, you can fly out of the U.S., take a cruise, then fly back into the U.S., whether you are vaccinated or not. And today if you’re vaccinated, you can’t take a cruise ship from the U.S. So we’ve got a little work to do here,” Donald said during a quarterly business update.
In response to the hold on U.S. cruises, several lines — including major players like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian — plan to sail from nearby ports like The Bahamas, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and Bermuda this summer.
To date, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) says that roughly 400,000 passengers have sailed under new health protocols since the pandemic began. About 50 people have reportedly had cases of COVID.