Maiden voyage of the Symphony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, which was delivered from STX shipyards in Saint-Nazaire to the American shipowner Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd (RCCL).
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that the state would file a lawsuit against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, demanding that cruise ships resume sailing immediately.
“Florida is fighting back today on behalf of the tens of thousands of Floridians whose livelihood depends on the viability of an open cruise industry,” he announced at a press conference. “We don’t believe the federal government has the right to mothball a large industry for over a year based on very little evidence and very little data.”
DeSantis called the CDC’s decision to delay the opening of the US cruise industry “irrational” and said he believed the lawsuit had “a good chance”.
The CDC was not immediately available for comment.
In the first six months of the pandemic, Florida lost $ 3.2 billion to the cruise industry shutdown, including nearly 50,000 jobs that paid $ 2.3 billion in wages, according to a September 2020 report by the Federal Maritime Commission. Since the CDC shut down the U.S. cruise industry last year, the state’s seaports have seen operating revenues decline by nearly $ 300 million. That number is expected to hit nearly $ 400 million in July, the Florida Department of Transportation told CNBC.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks to the media about the cruise industry during a press conference in Port Miami on April 8, 2021 in Miami, Florida.
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The governor signed an executive order on Friday banning so-called vaccination passports, which should also apply to the cruise industry. Corporations and government agencies cannot require customers or clients to provide evidence of vaccination.
In October, the CDC announced in their Frame for conditional sailing orderResearch has shown that Covid spreads more easily on cruise lines than in other environments. The agency cited, among other things, a study published in the Journal of Travel Medicine that found the virus to be on the Diamond Princess cruise The spread was four times higher, averaging one person in 15 people, than at its original epicenter in Wuhan, China, where an average of one person spread it in four people.
royal caribbean announced Thursday that it will extend the suspension of some of its voyages from US ports.
Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises trips are according to a Press release. However, voyages from new home ports in other regions of the world are still going according to plan.
The Silversea extensions exclude Silver Moon, Silver Origin, and Silver Explorer.
“Safety is a top priority and we know cruises can be safe as we’ve seen in Europe and Asia,” said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, in a press release. He remains optimistic about the second half of the year, citing the President Joe Bidens Promise that society will return to normal by July 4th.
Disney Cruise Line also announced on Monday that it would continue to suspend US travel until June. This affects the Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Wonder sails.
Royal Caribbean has carried over 100,000 guests on its ships outside of the US since the pandemic and seen only 10 Covid cases, Fain said on “CBS this morning“on Thursday. He said he” wants to be treated very similarly to airlines and other modes of transport. “
Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, expressed a similar sentiment in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday. He said cruise lines would “like to be treated in the same way as other sectors such as travel, tourism and entertainment”.
While airlines are able to fly around the world during the pandemic, the cruise industry, which had over 100,000 American jobs before Covid, has struggled for about a year with no travel from its US ports.
“The irony is that today an American can fly to any number of destinations to take a cruise, but cannot board a ship in the United States,” said the American Cruise Lines International Association said in a statement Monday calling on the CDC to cancel its conditional sail order, which outlined a gradual return to U.S. cruise operations with no set date.
The CDC was released last week technical instructions for cruise lines, including increasing the frequency of Covid case reports from weekly to daily, establishing a plan for vaccinating all staff and performing routine tests. However, this update did not specify a date when cruise ships would be back in service in the United States.
Correction: This story has been updated to show that Arnold Donald is CEO of Carnival Corporation.