Vaccination requirements are the first obstacles for giant cruise companies to resume their activities


Giant cruise companies, which are ready to resume their activities, are facing difficulties as local authorities require a certificate of vaccination and registration of COVID-19 infections during one of the first such trips.
And it was confirmed that two people were infected with the Corona virus Thursday on the “Celebrity Millennium” ship, which is one of the first cruise ships to sail in North America since the beginning of the epidemic, although “the crew and passengers are vaccinated.”
The situation is crystallizing, especially in Florida, the capital of cruises in the world, according to “Reuters”.
And the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance in early May to allow cruise passengers to sail under strict conditions, in which 95 per cent of people on cruise ships, both passengers and staff, are vaccinated. But Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis opposes those directives.
Last month, he passed a law banning companies and businesses in the tourist-tight state from demanding “vaccination certificates” from their customers and employees alike, with cruise companies potentially fined up to $5,000 per passenger.
The law is scheduled to enter into force on July 1, while cruise lines hope to resume operations from the United States after more than a year of suspension.
Critics of the Republican governor see his decision as political and aimed at winning the votes of former President Donald Trump’s supporters, many of whom are skeptical of the vaccine’s feasibility, ahead of a possible re-election campaign in 2022.
Nevertheless, cruises are very important to Florida’s economy, generating $9 billion in revenue and creating about 160,000 jobs each year, according to Cruise Lines International. There is a danger of her leaving in search of new ports to settle in.
Since those cruises stopped in March 2020, the deficit in Florida is estimated at $5.6 billion.
“Both sides have a lot to lose,” said Doug Parker of Cruise Radio.
With the three giants of the sector based in Miami, the coming months promise to present their share of confusion – or disputes over directives and rules.
Carnival Cruise Line will require that people boarding its ships departing from Texas — which is controlled by Republicans and has quickly abandoned anti-Covid measures — be catering.
But the company has yet to announce its terms for a cruise scheduled to depart from Miami on July 4th.
On Monday, Norwegian Cruise Line – which had threatened to abandon Florida as its port of call – defied the state’s governor by announcing that it would require proof that passengers had received the vaccine on all of its cruises.
“We are currently in contact with the ‘Governor’s’ management and lawyers to ensure that we can offer the safest cruises for passengers departing from the cruise capital of the world,” said Frank Del Rio, its chief executive.
And the third largest in the sector, Royal Caribbean, has faced reporting COVID-19 cases and issued somewhat ambiguous instructions.
After initially announcing that proof of vaccination would be necessary for its cruises, the group said last week that “passengers and crew were only encouraged to receive the vaccine, and that anyone who did not do so would be subject to other protocols.”
These different rules cause confusion, although the passengers – according to the surveys – mostly support providing proof of receiving the vaccine, as Jim Walker, a lawyer, told AFP.
The author of the “Cruise Law News” blog also fears that cruises transporting unvaccinated people will stop at Caribbean ports, where access to the vaccine is restricted. However, “it seems that very few cruise companies are concerned about this issue,” according to the lawyer.
And cruise enthusiasts “don’t seem too concerned about infecting the Bahamas and the Caribbean. It’s dangerous and irresponsible.”


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