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DeSantis throws tantrum over cruise ship vaccine requirements

“Silversea Cruises became the second major cruise line to announce it will require COVID-19 vaccinations for all passengers when it resumes global itineraries on June 5. The decision could set up a confrontation with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis when the luxury cruise line is scheduled to sail from Port Everglades in December. DeSantis’ press office on Monday asserted that his recent executive order barring businesses from requiring proof of vaccinated customers extends to cruise lines operating in Florida. ‘The Governor’s Executive Order provides that businesses in Florida are prohibited from requiring patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-transmission recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the business,’ press secretary Cody McCloud said by email. ‘Therefore, the Executive Order prohibits cruise lines from requiring vaccine passports for their Florida operations.'”

“Silversea’s announcement follows Norwegian Cruise Line’s statement last week that it would require full vaccinations if the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allows it to resume sailing in July. The cruise line is scheduled to run trips out of Port Miami beginning in September. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings also operates Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises. Silversea’s requirement will take effect when the company launches its first cruise since the pandemic on June 5 – a seven-day Galapagos Islands voyage from Ecuador. No voyages from U.S. ports are scheduled until Aug. 29, a 26-day trip to Japan from Anchorage, Alaska. Four sailings are scheduled from Port Everglades in December aboard the ships Silver Whisper, Silver Dawn and Silver Spirit. Silversea is a luxury cruise line, with fares that run into thousands of dollars. Whether DeSantis actually has authority to bar cruise lines from requiring vaccinations could become the focus of a legal battle involving the cruise lines and the CDC. The Coast Guard and the CDC have asserted control over cruise line activity at the port, but most decisions have been made by a ‘unified command’ that includes the state, federal and county governments, working with the cruise lines, said Ellen Kennedy, spokeswoman for Port Everglades” – Sun-Sentinel.

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