Bon Voyage: Norwegian Cruise Line May Skip Florida Ports Due to COVID-19 Vaccine Passport Ban


On Monday, Florida Governor Ronald DeSantis signed SB 2006 – legislation which, in part, allows the governor to overrule local emergency rules. The Republican governor also signed executive orders that called for the immediate suspension of local COVID-19 restrictions, and introduced vaccine passport prohibitions.

During a Thursday earnings call with analysts, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio remarked that subsidiary Norwegian Cruise Line may be forced to run operations out of ports in other US states – or the Caribbean – if Florida maintains its statewide prohibition of vaccination documentation. 

Del Rio explained that US law currently requires cruise lines operating in the country to confirm that most of the crew members and passengers have received the COVID-19 vaccine. However, new legislation in Florida would impede these efforts. 

“We certainly hope it doesn’t come to that,” Del Rio said on Thursday. 

Cruise ships have been blocked from leaving US ports since the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a “no-sail” edict in March 2020. Recent CDC guidance details that cruise ships may return to US waters if they can prove 95% of the passengers, and 98% of the ship’s crew are vaccinated against COVID-19.   

Additionally, Executive Order 21-101 extended a previous order that blocked requirements for vaccine documentation or “vaccine passports,” and Executive Order 21-102 invalidated all remaining local emergency orders on individuals and businesses. 

SB 2006 goes into effect on July 1. 


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