Federal appeals court allows CDC to set COVID-19 rules for cruises

A federal appeals court granted the CDC's legal request to keep the conditional sailing order in place, which was something the State of Florida was trying to prevent from happening.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took home a win on Saturday, as cruise restrictions will stay in place. 

A federal appeals court panel sided with the CDC in its legal battle with Florida over COVID-19 guidelines for cruises.

"It means the CDC gets to regulate everything, oversee everything. And, you have a cruise industry in Florida that’s a measly 55-60 billion dollar impact. Whatever the CDC wants, they get at this juncture," said FOX Business Contributor Gary Kaltbaum.

The CDC's conditional sailing order spells out phased guidelines on how the cruise industry can resume U.S.-based operations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The State of Florida fired back with a lawsuit claiming the process to allow cruising from the state was hurting the multi-billion dollar industry.

"We’ve seen throughout the country government overstep its bounds in response to the coronavirus pandemic," said Gov. Ron DeSantis in June. "And, you can’t have an agency relying on flimsy legal authority to keep an entire industry closed with no path forward."

The CDC has said the rules will prevent COVID-19 outbreaks on ships that have close quarters and frequent stops at foreign ports. 

A Disney Cruise Line ship left Port Canaveral Saturday. The passengers were volunteers, and it was the first test cruise out of the port. 

In less than two weeks, Carnival's newest ship, Marti Gras, will set sail. It will be the first ship with paying customers to leave Port Canaveral since March 2020.

"The ships are sailing with very reduced capacity. I was just on a ship that could hold 3,000 people and there were 900 people on board," said Stewart Chiron, who's been on three cruises since the cruise industry has slowly started to reopen.

He advises if you want to sail, getting vaccinated will make it easier. He said some cruise lines charged those who are unvaccinated more money.

"Right now, the cruise lines want vaccinated passengers so they can show these sailings can be safe for everybody," Chiron said. "It would not be a good time for non-vaccinated passengers. Children, it’s a different situation. But for adults, it’s just not the time. People just have to be a little patient as the cruise lines work back into operation."