Norwegian Cruise Line sues Florida over vaccine passport ban
PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. - Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is suing Florida's surgeon general over the state's vaccine passport ban, arguing that they should be able to verify passengers' vaccination status when they set sail from Miami on Aug. 15.
"The fight that should occupy us at present is the fight against COVID-19—and we should all be working together to win that fight," the cruise line wrote in the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida Tuesday. "NCLH’s respectful submission here is that Florida cannot lawfully or sensibly tie NCLH’s hands in this pivotal fight, at this sensitive time."
NCLH is asking the court to issue a preliminary injunction that will allow it to confirm the vaccination status of passengers and implement other guidelines it developed under the CDC's Conditional Sailing Order, which is the agency's strict phased framework for cruise lines to set sail again.
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U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday essentially threw that Conditional Sailing Order out earlier this month, calling it an "unwarranted and unprecedented exercise of governmental power."
After Merryday's ruling, the CDC's Conditional Sailing Order will become nonbinding guidelines on July 18.
NCLH did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis originally sued the CDC in April over the Conditional Sailing Order and banned vaccine passports in May.
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Other cruise lines have already set sail from Florida in recent weeks.
Royal Caribbean, which is requiring all unvaccinated passengers to buy travel insurance and pay $136 for COVID-19 testing, set sail from Fort Lauderdale on June 26 and Miami on July 2.