Florida Wins Again As CDC Court Win Overturned; Cruise Lines Try to Work Around the Drama

“We have a lot to celebrate. Families and loved ones can finally come together after more than a year apart, and we’re now welcoming them back on board to make up for that lost time,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “For a moment as meaningful as Fourth of July weekend, it couldn’t be more appropriate that Freedom of the Seas be the first ship to ring in our return to cruising in the U.S. and delivering the memorable and safe vacations Royal Caribbean is known for. Summer family vacations are back, and we are just getting started.”

If you’re keeping score, it’s now State of Florida 2, CDC 1.

As Open Jaw reported a week ago, a U.S. appeals court overturned a ruling that had stripped the CDC of its right to regulate cruise ships sailing from Florida. It reinstated the CDC’s Conditional Sail Orders (CSO).


But Florida’s governor immediately declared his intention to continue to fight against the CDC having any ability to restrict cruising in Florida.

And in the latest twist in a saga that’s increasingly difficult to follow, on Friday 23JUL, Cruise Industry News reports the U.S. appeals court overturned its own week-old decision, making the CSO now simply a suggestion, not mandatory.

Advantage, Florida.

But it isn’t even over yet. Cruise Week reports that the court followed up, noting that, “the CDC’s right to issue restrictions is due at the Court of Appeals on or before September 1, 2021.”

If we can’t keep up, imagine trying to run a cruise line while the obligation to operate under the CSO remains in limbo.

On the one hand, the CDC’s lengthy apply-to-sail process, as well as test sailings, aren’t enforceable in the interim, so a number of cruise lines may return to cruising more quickly – certainly ahead of any SEP ruling that puts those restrictions back in place.

On the other hand, Cruise Week says several industry sources have called the legal yo-yo’ing “crazy,” and said that making constant protocol changes is simply impossible. Those sources indicate many cruise lines will maintain the protocols that are in place that delicately balance CDC requirements and Florida restrictions.

Those protocols mainly provide guests who choose to provide proof of vaccination status with almost complete freedom on board and in most ports of call, while enforcing masking, distancing/ separation and limitations at certain ports of call, as well as expensive rounds of tests to be paid for by guests who are unvaccinated or who decline to provide proof of vaccination.

As Cruise Week says, “For its part, the CDC said they will enforce the “mask mandate” and other CDC safety requirements on those cruise ships that opt not to abide by the Conditional Sail Order.”

Open Jaw has repeatedly reported that surveys of cruise line guests reveal most want to sail in a vaccinated environment, and most cruise lines are committed to providing it.

A tweet by Carnival Corp. Chairman Micky Arison on Friday may sum up the view of most cruise executives, at least when it comes to vaccinations: “In the last couple of months 97% of hospitalizations were unvaccinated and 99% of the deaths were unvaccinated. How much clearer can it be just #GetVaccinatedASAP and let’s end the pandemic.”

Hear, hear.

Lynn Elmhirst

With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

You may also like
Regent Seven Seas Mariner in Skagway, Alaska
More Rockslides Close Busiest Skagway Cruise Dock for the Rest of Alaska Season
As the White Pass Railroad Dock is set to remain closed for the season, an estimated 30 ships - totalling 100,000 ...
American Cruise Lines' American Symphony
American Cruise Lines’ Latest Riverboat Debuts in NOLA in AUG
Currently on the way to New Orleans for the start of its inaugural season sailing the Mississippi River, 175-guest American Symphony ...
Viking Saigon
Newest Viking Ship Begins Inaugural Season in Asia
Until 31AUG, Viking is offering special savings on select river and ocean voyages, with a limited-time USD $25 deposit as part ...
Paul Gauguin Cruises in Tahiti
Paul Gauguin Cruises Announces $500 Air Credit for Select 2023 Sailings
Paul Gauguin Cruises is offering a USD $500 air credit per guest on 7-night voyages exploring French Polynesia. This offer is ...
African Travel Inc. Safari Elephant
African Travel Inc. Offers More Departures in 2022, New Incentives for Advisors
With an uptick in demand, luxury safari operator African Travel, Inc., is offering advisor incentives for trips reserved in 2022 along ...

Leave a Reply