Royal Caribbean caved! They will not require vaccine passports, just recommend them. It’s a big win for Florida Governor (R) Ron De Santis.
The cruise line Royal Caribbean International said it will no longer require its passengers to be vaccinated for COVID after initially saying they would.
DeSantis had threatened to enforce Florida law on cruise companies which would fine companies $5,000 each time they asked for proof of vaccination.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis insisted that his state would not embrace so-called “vaccine passports” for airplane and cruise travelers.
“We are going to enforce Florida law,” DeSantis, said on May 30 in reference to a bill he signed earlier this month prohibiting passport-type systems. Some cruise lines, which conduct a large amount of business in Florida, after Celebrity Cruises gained approval from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to require that cruise passengers and crew members show proof of vaccination.
Going a step further, DeSantis said Celebrity Cruises would be breaking state law if it attempted to require that passengers show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. The state Legislature passed Senate Bill 2006, banning passport-like systems being implemented in Florida in early May.
“You don’t pass laws and then not enforce them against giant corporations. It doesn’t work that way,” DeSantis said on Friday.
THE BIG CAVE
Royal Caribbean International caved and will no longer require any of its cruise passengers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 as it had previously planned to.
In a press release Friday announcing cruises for sale on eight of its ships from U.S. ports this summer, starting with Freedom of the Seas from PortMiami on July 2, the company said it will recommend passengers get the COVID-19 vaccine, but not require it. The announcement is a reversal from previous statements and vaccine protocols the company submitted to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month that said it would require all passengers at least 18 years old and older to be vaccinated.
The company wrote in a statement, “Guests are strongly recommended to set sail fully vaccinated. “Those who are unvaccinated or unable to verify vaccination will be required to undergo testing and follow other protocols, which will be announced at a later date.”
The about-face is an apparent submission to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has insisted that there will be no exception made for cruise companies to a newly passed Florida law that fines companies $5,000 each time they ask a patron to provide proof of vaccination. Royal Caribbean International’s sister brand Celebrity Cruises (both owned by Royal Caribbean Group) is still requiring all passengers 16 years old or older be vaccinated on its seven-night Caribbean cruises that are restarting from Port Everglades on June 26.