Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings wins its lawsuit against the state of Florida and is granted preliminary injection to sail from the state with 100% vaccinated guests and crew members. All three brands under the company will be allowed to request proof of vaccination before a cruise.
Norwegian Cruise Brands Can Ask Proof of Vaccination
It’s something Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) has been pushing for in recent months and has now come out on top with its lawsuit that was filed against Florida’s Scott A. Rivkees, State Surgeon General in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida on July 13.
The cruise company said that it’s being prevented to resume cruise operations safely due to the vaccine passport ban, which stops the request for vaccination proof. The passport ban by Florida could inflict a fine of $5,000 each time a company asks for proof of vaccinations, including cruise lines.
There was a hearing held on August 8, and Judge Williams ruled in favor of the cruise company by granting a preliminary injunction which paves the way for all three cruise brands, including Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises in requiring documentation proof of vaccination status before boarding.
“The health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit is our number one priority, today, tomorrow and forever. It’s not a slogan or a tagline, we fiercely mean it and our commitment to these principles is demonstrated by the lengths our Company has gone through to provide the safest possible cruise experience from Florida. We want nothing more than to sail from Miami, the Cruise Capital of the World, and from the other fabulous Florida ports and we welcome today’s ruling that allows us to sail with 100% fully vaccinated guests and crew which we believe is the safest and most prudent way to resume cruise operations amid this global pandemic,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “The public health environment continues to evolve around the globe and our robust science-backed health and safety protocols, with vaccines at its cornerstone, allow us to provide what we believe is the safest vacation experience for people who long to get back to their everyday lives and explore the world once again.”
The three cruise lines can now move forward with plans on requesting proof of vaccination on sailings out of Florida, just like in other states. The cruise company is operating cruise ships with 100% fully vaccinated guests and crew.
For rivals Carnival and Royal Caribbean they are operating with a limited number of unvaccinated and both taking alternative routes as part of the guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We are pleased that Judge Williams saw the facts, the law and the science as we did and granted the Company’s motion for preliminary injunction allowing us to operate cruises from Florida with 100% vaccinated guests and crew,” said Daniel S. Farkas, executive vice president and general counsel of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “While litigation is a strategic tool of last resort, our Company has fought to do what we believe is right and in the best interest of the welfare of our guests, crew and communities we visit in an effort to do our part as responsible corporate citizens to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, further spread of COVID-19 as we gradually relaunch our vessels.”
Norwegian has invested heavily in making sure guests and crew remain safe during cruises as part of its SailSAFE health and safety program. It’s been backed by a health and scientific expert panel in partnership with Royal Caribbean Group. Now that the Delta variant is causing concerns not just within the cruise industry but all sectors making sure everyone on board is fully protected is more important than ever. Being able to ask for vaccination proof will become an important part of that process.
The first cruise ship to restart operations out of Florida will be Norwegian Gem on August 14. The ship will be based out of Miami and follows Norwegian Encore, which became the first ship in the fleet to resume in the U.S. out of Seattle, Washington, on August 7.