As a result of the growing controversy following President Trump’s travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, the Norwegian Cruise Line is now suing the state of Florida in an effort to get citizens of these countries to be able to travel to the US. The cruise line argues that the ban, which has been in place since January 11, 2018, has caused their business to suffer and that it has tarnished the image of the US as a tourist destination.
On Sunday, Norwegian Cruise Line sued the State of Florida, claiming it was coercing the cruise line to vaccinate its crew against measles by threatening to fine the company $250,000 a day for each day it did not comply. This has been a bone of contention between the cruise line and the state for several years, given the high rate of measles in the state. In 2007, the Florida legislature passed the law after a measles outbreak at Disney World, with the intent of keeping the virus from spreading. “We are trying to prevent a disaster,” Senator Bill Nelson, the sponsoring Democrat, said at the time, “There are good reasons to make these laws.”Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. has filed a lawsuit challenging Florida’s ban on companies requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
The world’s third-largest cruise line filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the state’s Surgeon General, seeking a court order that would suspend legislation signed earlier this year by Governor Ron DeSantis.
The law prohibits requiring customers to present immunization documents, and cruise lines can face fines of up to $5,000 per passenger if they do so.
Norwegian Pearl in Jacksonville, Florida
Despite the ongoing global pandemic and accelerated spread of the Delta variant, Florida continues to prohibit us from requesting the vaccination documents that we believe would allow us to resume swimming in the safest manner possible, NCLH’s complaint states.
We believe that Florida’s ban is contrary to federal law, public health and science, and is not in the best interest of our guests, our crew, and the communities we visit, and therefore we have reluctantly requested that the ban be lifted in court.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, suffered billion-dollar losses during the pandemic outbreak and plans to return to sea in August.
It is valid during the trip until at least the 31st. October has a strict policy of full vaccination of all crew and passengers, including children.
READ MORE: Vaccination Report: Transgression or key to the future of cruising?
The seventh. In August, the Norwegian Encore will depart from Seattle for Alaska, for its first trip with passengers since March 2023. The Norwegian Gem departs Miami for the Caribbean a week later.
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we have been unable to reach a reasonable and mutually agreeable solution with the state of Florida that would allow us to require documentation confirming that customers were vaccinated before boarding the plane, the company said in its lawsuit.
Today, we are asking the Federal Court for the Southern District of Florida to overturn Florida’s ban and grant us a preliminary injunction allowing our company to resume shipments under strict health and safety protocols to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, which has been based in Florida since its founding in 1966, said its 100 percent vaccination policy for guests and crew is consistent and works flawlessly in all ports from which we sail around the world, with the exception of Florida.
We take no pleasure in filing this case, it was our last resort. Nothing beats the health and safety of our guests, our crew and the communities we visit; our commitment to them is paramount.
READ MORE: Complicated dance Cruise lines struggle with new vaccination laws
Despite his support of Florida’s lawsuit against the Centers for Disease Control to quickly get the cruise industry back to work, Governor Ron DeSantis has upheld legislation that prohibits guests from being vaccinated.
He argued that requiring such proof violated the right to privacy and created two classes of citizens by giving those who were vaccinated more freedom than those who chose not to be vaccinated.
Your personal decision to get vaccinated will be protected, and no company or government agency will be able to deny you services based on your decision, DeSantis said in signing the legislation.
(Photo courtesy of Oceania Cruises)
Shortly after the bill passed, Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said the issue was too big for his company to ignore.
After all, cruise ships have engines, propellers and rudders, and if for some reason we can’t operate in Florida, there are other states where we do. And we can work out of the Caribbean for ships that would otherwise go to Florida, Del Rio said.
DeSantis responded to Del Rio’s comments with an insult: Norwegian, by the way, is not one of the big [cruise lines], he said, adding that other cruise lines are ready.
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