The cruise line Norwegian, based in Miami, reported this Monday that it will request proof of vaccination from all passengers and crew to be able to dock at ports in the United States, despite the fact that the governor of Florida prohibited this documentation from being required. .
“With mandatory vaccinations and strict health and safety protocols in place, we believe we can provide a safe and healthy vacation experience,” said Frank Del Rio, president of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., in a statement.
Norwegian, which along with Carnival and Royal Caribbean is one of the three largest cruise lines in the world, is the first of them to announce this measure in the hope that the US federal authorities will authorize their cruises this summer.
For its part, Royal Caribbean announced last March that it would request vaccination tests from crew members and passengers over 18 years of age and that it hopes to resume some Caribbean routes in June.
The cruises were suspended on March 14, 2020 when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a “no-sail order” to prevent the spread of covid-19, although numerous ships already had deadly outbreaks on board.
Some cruise ships restarted sailing in Europe and other regions last year, but the US ban remains in effect.
The Norwegian corporation, which operates Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, explained that it sent a letter to the CDC on Monday detailing its plan to restart operations.
The company “shares the CDC’s view that vaccines are the vehicle through which Americans will get back to their everyday lives,” Del Rio said.
In an October “Conditional Navigation Order” updated in April, the CDC sets out a roadmap for cruise ships operating in US waters to restart navigation. Among other things, they recommend the vaccination of passengers and crew.
By requiring proof of vaccination from all passengers and crew, Norwegian said it expects the CDC to authorize its cruise ships from US ports beginning July 4.
Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis banned the use of so-called “vaccine passports” in this state last Friday.
It also prevented private companies from requiring their clients to have any kind of document certifying their vaccination, or else contracts or state funds will be withdrawn.
“We look forward to working with Governor DeSantis to restart our operations from Florida ports,” a Norwegian carrier told AFP.