Cruise Line Suing Florida Over Vaccination Law

(Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Florida’s law that forbids cruise lines from requiring passengers to prove they’ve been vaccinated from COVID-19 is being challenged by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the Associated Press reported.

The cruise line argues the law puts crew members and passengers at a higher risk of COVID-19 infections and threatens the entire cruise experience in a lawsuit filed Tuesday at a federal court in Miami. The law prevents cruise lines like Norwegian from forcing patrons to prove they have been vaccinated from COVID-19, and fines the cruise company $5,000 every time they do so, according to the AP.

Norwegian plans on restarting their cruise operations out of Florida on Aug. 15 with required proof of vaccination for passengers, and is requesting that a judge rules against the law by Aug. 6, the AP reported.

“The result would be a devastating, unrecoverable loss for everyone — not only for NCLH’s business but also for tens of thousands of passengers, employees, and stakeholders who all benefit from NCLH resuming safe operations as planned,” Norwegian argues in the lawsuit, according to the AP. “The only way NCLH could maintain its protocols and operations as currently planned is by abandoning Florida altogether.”

The defendant listed on the suit, Dr. Scott Rivkees, was appointed by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to head Florida’s Department of Health. 

A spokeswoman for DeSantis claimed that cruise lines would be discriminating against unvaccinated individuals, particularly children under 12, the AP noted. (RELATED: Cruise Ships Are Making A Comeback Soon After CDC Opens The Floodgates)

Previously, the state defeated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a Tampa federal court regarding CDC-imposed COVID-19 cruise restrictions, which the CDC is now challenging.

“Florida already fought and won its case so that Norwegian and all other cruise lines can invite and serve all Americans on its vessels,” Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’ press secretary, told the AP in an email. “But apparently Norwegian prefers the shackles of the CDC to the freedom offered by Florida.”

While Norwegian has been holding out, other cruise lines such as Carnival and Royal Caribbean have already resumed operations out of Florida ports.