Cruise

Judge rules NCL can require passengers show proof of Covid vaccination

The landmark court case challenged a Florida law that bans businesses from asking customers to document their vaccination status

Globally, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has put in place protocols to protect its staff and passengers, including the requirement that all staff and passengers are vaccinated. In Florida, the law bans businesses from asking customers to prove their vaccination status. As a result, NCL’s inaugural sailing from Miami in the US state was going to have to be cancelled or relocated at great cost to the cruise line.

Now, according to the cruise operator, a federal judge has ruled to temporarily halt enforcement of a Florida law prohibiting businesses from requiring customers to show proof of vaccination.

US District Judge Kathleen Williams has granted a preliminary injunction, allowing NCL to request proof of vaccination from customers, per company protocol, while the case heads to trial. 

The timing of the ruling is crucial as Norwegian Gem is scheduled to depart from Miami on 15 August. This marks the cruise line’s first trip from the state since the pandemic halted the cruise industry’s operations more than a year ago.

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NCL CEO Frank Del Rio said in a statement: “The health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit is our number one priority, today, tomorrow and forever. It’s not a slogan or a tagline, we fiercely mean it and our commitment to these principles is demonstrated by the lengths our Company has gone through to provide the safest possible cruise experience from Florida.”

Infection levels in Florida have risen 51% in the last seven days, according to data from Johns Hopkins University

Speaking during the court hearing, NCL legal representative Derek Shaffer said: “It’s scary what’s happening in Florida. All of Florida is a hot spot… All we’re doing is trying to protect our staff and passengers.”

NCL’s travel requirements state that guests must be fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to embarkation. Proof of an accepted Covid-19 vaccination must be shown at the cruise pier to board the ship. In addition, pre-cruise testing and additional health screenings will be conducted at the terminal.

NCL’s commitment to safety is reassuring for the UAE travel market, as the cruise line will also operate cruises out of Dubai, starting in December 2021 with three 18- and 19-day cruise holidays departing from Dubai travelling to the Mediterranean, Africa and South Africa. 

For more information, visit Norwegian Cruise Line 

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