On Thursday, Republican Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis announced that the state is filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calling for cruise ships to be allowed to begin sailing again.
“Today, Florida’s fighting back,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Thursday. “We don’t believe the federal government has the right to mothball a major industry for over a year based on very little evidence and very little data. I think we have a good chance for success.”
CNBC reported that DeSantis said the CDC’s decision to put off the opening of the U.S. cruise industry was “irrational” and said that he thinks that this lawsuit will have a “good chance for success.”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said that the lawsuit is filed against the CDC, Biden Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It was filed in the United States District Court in Tampa and states that “the cruise industry has been singled out, and unlike the rest of America, prevented from reopening. Despite the demonstrated success of reasonable COVID-19 safety protocols in Europe and Asia, the cruise industry in the United States has been subject to a nationwide lockdown since March 2020. As a result, the industry is on the brink of financial ruin.”
On Thursday, Royal Caribbean announced that it will be continuing its suspension of some of its trips that leave from ports in the United States for a longer period of time. In a press release, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and Silversea Cruises said that their sailings are suspended through June 30. Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises said that their suspension excludes “all ships which have recently announced many new homeports around the globe.”
“Safety is the first priority, and we know that cruising can be safe, as we have seen in Europe and Asia,” said Richard D. Fain, Royal Caribbean Group chairman and CEO. “The rising number of Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, layered on top of the rigorous health and safety measures we are implementing under the Healthy Sail Panel’s guidance, enables us to create a safe environment to take a cruise. We strongly believe that President Biden’s stated goal for society to reopen in time for Independence Day is a realistic goal.”
Royal Caribbean has carried over 100,000 guests on its ships outside the U.S. since the pandemic and has only seen 10 Covid cases, Fain said on “CBS This Morning” on Thursday. He said he “would like to be treated in a very similar way to the airlines and other forms of transportation.”
Arnold Donald, the CEO of Carnival Cruise Line, made a similar statement speaking with CNBC on Wednesday. He said cruise lines would “like to be treated the same as other sectors and travel and tourism and entertainment.”
The Cruise Lines International Association called for the CDC to lift its Framework for Conditional Sailing Order in a statement on Monday. “The irony is that today an American can fly to any number of destinations to take a cruise, but cannot board a ship in the U.S.,” the statement said. “This deprives U.S. workers from participating in the economic recovery and does not recognize the public health advances that have been made over many months, including the ability to effectively mitigate risk on cruise ships.”
On Wednesday, The Daily Wire reported that Carnival Cruises said it might need to move its home ports out of the United States if the CDC does not lessen its restrictions or create guidelines that the cruise line can handle.