Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings files legal action over vaccine passport ban


One of the world’s largest cruise lines is fighting to end Florida’s ban on vaccine passports.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. – parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises – is suing Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees over state law banning “vaccine passports,” a term referring to proof of vaccination.

The company says the ban violates federal law and said the lawsuit is a “last resort” to ensure he can resume cruising “safely and securely.”

Florida state law banning vaccine passports came into effect on July 1 and is described in an executive order from Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.

How Does Florida’s Vaccine Passport Ban Affect Cruise Passengers?

The vaccine passport ban prohibits companies like NCL Holdings from verifying the immunization status of passengers boarding Florida ports.

The law contradicts the rules set out by the CDC, according to which cruise lines offering cruises on ships with paying passengers would need 95% of crew and 95% of passengers to be fully vaccinated to board. Simulated cruises filled with non-paying volunteer passengers do not have the same mandate.

The NCL Holdings lawsuit claims Florida law places the company in an “impossible dilemma:” either on the wrong side of Flordia state law or “on the wrong side of health and safety.”

The company announced in April that it would require all passengers and crew on its ships to be “100% vaccinated” two weeks before boarding.

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What does Florida have to say about this?

Christina Pushaw, a DeSantis office press secretary, called the lawsuit “baseless” and said the company faced a $ 5,000 fine every time it asked to verify a passenger’s immunization status.

“Norwegian Cruise Line (Holdings) made the disappointing and illegal choice to join the CDC by discriminating against children and others who cannot be vaccinated or who have chosen not to be vaccinated for reasons of health, religion or religion. conscience, ”Pushaw said. by email. “This administration will not tolerate such widespread discrimination. “

The Florida Department of Health did not respond to a request for comment.

Florida state law banning vaccine passports came into effect on July 1 and is described in an executive order from Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.  In this April 30, 2021 photo, DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida.

Why is NCL Holdings fighting against this law?

NCL Holdings has suspended its global operations for more than 16 months due to the pandemic. The company called the break “debilitating” in a Tuesday statement, but said it did not want to rush to resume operations without the added guarantee of checking vaccination statuses.

“Despite the ongoing global pandemic and the accelerated spread of the Delta variant, Florida continues to ban us from requiring documentation on vaccines,” the company statement said. “The rapid deployment of vaccines has been the main way in which people can safely resume their daily lives while containing the spread of the virus. “

The company’s lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court against the Southern District of Florida, described Florida’s passport vaccination ban as “an abnormal and misguided intrusion (which) threatens to spoil (NCL) Holdings) careful planning and forcing it to cancel or hamper upcoming cruises. “

NCL Holdings says the ban violates the First Amendment by blocking communications between companies and their customers and “inexplicably prevents this company from protecting the health and safety of its employees and customers in the extraordinary context of a deadly pandemic.”

The cruise line is asking the court to act before August 15, when it is scheduled to restart operations from Florida ports.

The lawsuit comes after several cruise lines had passengers or crew members positive for COVID on board.

Royal Caribbean International postponed the inaugural departures of its new cruise ship last month after eight crew members tested positive for coronavirus during routine testing. And two passengers who shared a room on Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Millennium ship, which was billed as carrying “a fully vaccinated crew and guests,” tested positive for COVID-19 last month.

American cruise lines:Cancels cruise after crew member, 2 passengers tested positive for COVID-19


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