As temperatures rise, signaling the approach of summer, tensions between the state of Florida and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are also heating up. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has threatened to sue the CDC if it doesn’t lift its “conditional sailing order” on cruise ships in time for them to resume sailing out of U.S. ports this summer.
On Friday, March 26, DeSantis made this declaration at Port Canaveral as he gathered with executives from several major cruise lines, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Disney Cruise Line.
With three major cruise ports in Florida, millions of travelers pass through the Sunshine State specifically to board a cruise ship. Most sailings to the Bahamas, Caribbean, or Mexico start their journeys in either Miami, Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades, or Port Canaveral.
According to The Points Guy, Ashley Moody, Florida’s attorney general, also attended this meeting and is rumored to be exploring the state’s legal options ahead of this potential lawsuit against the CDC.
Gov. DeSantis wants to resume sailing before cruising season to prevent more revenue losses as several major companies such as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Crystal Cruises have already announced plans to sail out of Bahamian and Caribbean ports this summer.
Currently, the CDC has a conditional sail order in place, which outlines several benchmarks that cruise lines must meet before they are allowed to resume U.S.-based operations. The document is 40 pages long with major guidelines including:
• providing a plan that will keep ships ’crews safe and healthy
• conducting a “simulated voyage” to test the ability of the cruise line to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 on its ships
• certification that ships meet all the requirements in the conditional sail order
With vaccine rollout going according to plan in most of the U.S., Gov. DeSantis, among others, believe the rules may be outdated and need to reflect the progress in both understandings and fighting the COVID-19 virus.
The CDC has not yet released any comments in response to Gov. DeSantis’ threat.
Jessica is a freelance journalist on a quest to see and experience everything our gorgeous planet offers and share her experiences with her fellow travelers. Jessica has written for several world-class Travel Magazines.