Cruise lines and Florida Gov. DeSantis square off over vaccine passports

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  hal-a-lujah  •  2 weeks ago  •  20 comments

By:   Alex Seitz-Wald

Cruise lines and Florida Gov. DeSantis square off over vaccine passports
Cruise lines are eager to set sail, but a new law championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis banning so-called vaccine passports may keep them anchored.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is on a collision course with one of the state's biggest industries over a law he signed banning businesses from asking customers whether they've been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Cruise ship operators, who sail out of Florida's large southern ports, say the order will make it make it harder for them to safely return to the seas, possibly imperiling a major economic driver in the state.


With populations the size of small cities packed into close quarters, cruise ships are uniquely vulnerable to viral spread. So to comply with CDC guidance and keep passengers and crew members safe, several cruise liners want to require nearly everyone onboard to be fully vaccinated.

But that could now be illegal in Florida, the center of the American cruise industry, under a law DeSantis signed this month that prohibits businesses from discriminating against unvaccinated customers.


"In Florida, your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected, and no business or government entity will be able to deny you services based on your decision," DeSantis said of the law, which codified executive orders he had already issued.



The law is the last thing the cruise industry needs, said travel industry analyst Patrick Scholes, managing director of Truist Securities, as they try to reassure passengers that it's safe to return to their all-you-can-eat buffets after 15 months.


"It has been a year of migraines and kicks in the teeth for the cruise industry. Now, they're finally getting ready to restart, and you have the governor of Florida basically playing a game of chicken with them," Scholes said.

The dispute may end up in court, as the cruise industry argues that the state law doesn't apply to it thanks to federal rules. In the meantime, companies may decide to move ahead with plans to require vaccinations, even if it means racking up violations in Florida.

"It might even be cheaper for them to just eat the fines," Scholes said. "They are burning millions of dollars a day having their ships idle."

Florida, which is by far the biggest embarkation point for cruises in the U.S., is home to the headquarters and key infrastructure of several major cruise lines, including Norwegian, whose CEO said the Miami-based company might have to pull its ships out of the state because of the vaccine passport prohibitions.

"We hope that this doesn't become a legal football or a political football. But at the end of the day, cruise ships have motors, propellers and rudders. And God forbid we can't operate in the state of Florida for whatever reason, then there are other states that we do operate from. And we can operate from the Caribbean for ships that otherwise would have gone to Florida," CEO Frank Del Rio said on a recent earnings call with investors and analysts.

"We certainly hope it doesn't come to that. Everyone wants to operate out of Florida. It's a very lucrative market," Del Rio said. "But it is an issue. Can't ignore it. And we hope that everyone is pushing in the same direction, which is we want to resume cruising in a safe manner."

Another, unnamed, cruise industry executive warned the industry newsletter Cruise Week that if the Florida law stands, "it would appear to block cruises from restarting."

"Why is a pro-business governor standing in the way of one of the most important industries in the state from restarting?" the executive asked.

DeSantis, who is seen as a leading presidential contender if Trump doesn't run, has been at the forefront of the GOP's turn away from a business-focused message.

He recently signed a law cracking down on social media companies , a direct response from Trump allies to websites that opted to remove him from their platforms. But in another instance, he sided with the cruise industry and stripped power from local jurisdictions after residents of Key West overwhelmingly voted in a referendum to limit the size of cruise ships visiting the island, where the cruise dock is owned by a major DeSantis donor.

DeSantis, who says he has been fighting for the cruise industry all along, sued the CDC over masking and social distancing guidelines that he said were too strict. Now that he is at odds with the industry over so-called vaccine passports, he says he isn't budging.

"We are going to enforce Florida law," DeSantis told reporters Friday, according to the Orlando Sentinel. "I mean, we have Florida law. We have laws that protect the people and the privacy of our citizens, and we are going to enforce it."

Covid-19 vaccines have become politicized . Republicans are by far the largest segment of Americans who say they will "definitely not" get inoculated, according to a poll from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. More than a quarter of GOP voters, 27 percent, say they will refuse the shots, while 9 percent more said they would get the shots only if it's required.

Other Florida politicians see things differently, and even some Republicans say it's not worth challenging the recovery of the state's crucial tourism industry after it was hammered by the pandemic.

We are ready to welcome back passengers to the Cruise Capital of the World and put tens of thousands of cruise employees back to work," said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, a Democrat. "We're committed to working with the governor to find a way forward."




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Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
1  seeder  Hal A. Lujah    2 weeks ago

What a complete moron.  Can you imagine a dumbass like this running the country (again)?  I’m so ready to get back on a boat, but I’ll sail out of anywhere but Florida just to spite this piece of shit. Talk about big government intervention into the private sector.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2  Kavika     2 weeks ago

A number of the cruise lines have said that they'll not call FL and some are talking about basing out of the Caribbean. Many law experts have stated that the state of FL has no jurisdiction over international maritime travel, the federal government does.

I thought that the Republicans were the party of stay out of private business. Guess not.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.1  Ender  replied to  Kavika @2    2 weeks ago

The fact that they would give priority to people that would not get vaccinated is in itself a twisted reality.

They are only pandering to the conspiracy theorists and we will all have to suffer.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
2.2  Krishna  replied to  Kavika @2    2 weeks ago

Florida is a major point of embarcation for cruises originating on the East Coast. (Actually, I think it is the single biggest one in that regard). If the major cruise lines stop using it-- the negative impact of Florida's economy will be YUGE!!!

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
3  Perrie Halpern R.A.    2 weeks ago

I am sure there are many people who already feel that cruise ships are floating petri dishes already, so I don't blame the industry for wanting their ships as disease-free as possible. 

Unless DeSantis wants to kill that industry in Florida, he should just let them do, what they are allowed to do by federal law.

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
3.1  seeder  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3    2 weeks ago

I’ve never felt like a cruise ship was dirtier than any crowded place on land.  People who don’t wash their hands after taking a shit also go to restaurants, shopping centers, concerts, libraries, etc. on land.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
3.1.1  Krishna  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @3.1    2 weeks ago
I’ve never felt like a cruise ship was dirtier than any crowded place on land.

Whether or not that's true (I actually don't know) there's another factor on a cruise ship-- many people are packed together in a relatively small area for a while. (For example-- people may go out to dinner at a restaurant-- but they don't stay there, without leaving, for several days. After a few hours they leave. But that's the case on a cruise ship-- they remain in that area for several days without leaving!)

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
3.1.2  seeder  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  Krishna @3.1.1    2 weeks ago

The difference is that there is an enormous number of staff on a cruise bending over backwards to keep the boat clean.  We’ve all heard the horror stories about germs on cruise boats, but in my experience they are the exception not the rule.  The only sickness I’ve ever experienced on a cruise is sea sickness.

 
 
 
r.t..b...
Masters Participates
3.2  r.t..b...  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3    2 weeks ago

This is just another political football, one that has frankly been fumbled by both sides, leading to yet another instance where disinformation seems to be the driving force. 

As an aside, why anyone would pay money to spend time on a floating bus and be subject to guided port of call excursions and thinking they are experiencing the culture visited is beyond me.

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
3.2.1  seeder  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  r.t..b... @3.2    2 weeks ago

Because it’s better than sitting at home or spending three times as much trying to experience a deeper sense of a foreign culture.  Personally, I love everything about cruising from the food to the cheesy entertainment.  For me it’s about spending time who you are with, without getting nickel and dimed every time you turn around.  Unlimited drinks, formal dining, and the freedom to get on and off the boat in foreign places puts a smile on my face.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3.2.2  Ender  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @3.2.1    2 weeks ago

We went on one and enjoyed it. Loved having food places open 24/7.

I never felt cooped up. I spent most of my time outside on a deck, bar by the pool, etc.

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
3.2.3  devangelical  replied to  r.t..b... @3.2    2 weeks ago

what? you don't want to pay over $100 for a ride to the dock from the airport? wait for hours to board while being up sold on shit that should be included? made to participate in a sinking ship drill before leaving the dock? pay a fortune to stay in a room the size of a walk-in closet? a shower smaller than a telephone booth? over priced drinks? having to look at people that should be prohibited by law from wearing any type of beach wear? a pool crowded like a subway car? sitting in a hot tub with piss suds over your head? everybody's fucking rugrats running around the ship without supervision? all you can eat mediocre food? shitty expensive tours and activities at every private island or port of call? a pile of tip envelopes left on your bed before disembarking? discovering your possessions are missing from your luggage when you get home? wtf? what kind of middle class american are you? /s

 
 
 
r.t..b...
Masters Participates
3.2.4  r.t..b...  replied to  devangelical @3.2.3    2 weeks ago

Been to Vegas, too.

Not a big fan of fabricated entertainment and the lure the of the ‘all inclusive’ enticement. A personal choice to be sure...and more power to those that choose differently.

We are fortunate to have those choices when so many could only imagine that kind of economic freedom. 

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
3.2.5  Krishna  replied to  r.t..b... @3.2    2 weeks ago
As an aside, why anyone would pay money to spend time on a floating bus and be subject to guided port of call excursions and thinking they are experiencing the culture visited is beyond me.

Some do, somwe don't.

For some people its not so much about experiencing foreign cultures as it is about what happens while they're on the ship! Some of these ships are YUGE, basically floating entertainment centers! Eat in a different restaurant evey day, swim in pools, nightly shows, etc. etc. 

I have only been on a cruise once in my life-- on a small boat that was a guided tour down the Nile. Every day we docked at a different port, and then left after Breakfast for a guided tour of various ancinet ruins or other sites in Egypt. It was fantastic! (But that's what's usually referred to as a "Riverboat Tour". There was no onboard entertainment-- and meals were OK but nothing special. Actually the boat was pretty small)

(I've heard there are some excellent similar tour that travel thoughout parts of Europe on the rivers. basically the ship is mostly a place to sleep at night...IIRC somemmay have a short lecture after dinner...?).

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
3.2.6  seeder  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  devangelical @3.2.3    2 weeks ago

That’s a lot of negativity.  You must be doing it wrong.  A fortune for a small room?  The room is for sleeping in and is totally affordable.  Every cruise I’ve been on had a small room that was cleaner than any hotel you could get for the price, and they come in and clean it two or three times a day.  Formal dining on Royal Caribbean comes standard and is way better than many restaurant meals I’ve had.  Get the drink package - if you’re like me, they’re the ones losing money.  And kids?  Kids are kids.  Let them be rugrats and enjoy themselves for a week.  I wish my parents had ever once treated us kids to a cruise.  If you’ve ever been dirt poor as an adult or were raised by cheapskate parents who never treated you to anything memorable and fun, cruising feels like being treated like royalty.  

 
 
 
Freefaller
PhD Guide
3.2.7  Freefaller  replied to  Krishna @3.2.5    2 weeks ago
I have only been on a cruise once in my life-- on a small boat that was a guided tour down the Nile. Every day we docked at a different port, and then left after Breakfast for a guided tour of various ancinet ruins or other sites in Egypt. It was fantastic! (But that's what's usually referred to as a "Riverboat Tour". There was no onboard entertainment-- and meals were OK but nothing special. Actually the boat was pretty small)

I did that cruise too, it was awesome!

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
PhD Guide
4  Paula Bartholomew    2 weeks ago

I hope the cruise industry totally pulls away from FL.  If Desantis wants to be an ahole then let him.  Lets see how the businesses there like losing money and see how he likes losing their votes.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
5  Ender    2 weeks ago

Ah republicans. Becoming more fascist every day.

The party that says people cannot tell a business what to do, telling business what to do.

By the way, fuck the people that refuse to get vaccinated.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
6  Kavika     2 weeks ago

I don't care for the big cruise ships but we have taken a number of cruises on small boats, some motorsailers, some sailboats etc. The coast of Yugoslavia, the coast of Turkey, part of the Greece isles and most all of the Caribbean. None of the cruises had more than 25 passengers.

 
 
 
Krishna
Professor Principal
6.1  Krishna  replied to  Kavika @6    2 weeks ago

I've heard about those. Sounds great-- I may do some some day.

 
 
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