August 09, 2021
(2:30 a.m. EDT) -- Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has been granted a preliminary injunction allowing it ask for proof of passenger vaccination in Florida ahead of boarding.
The move means the group, which operates Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, can go ahead with its planned first sailing August 15, 2021 on Norwegian Gem departing from Miami.
NCLH filed a motion July 13 calling on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to invalidate the state's law that prohibits businesses from requiring patrons to confirm vaccination status.
"The health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit is our number one priority, today, tomorrow and forever," said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
"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."
The company's policy of 100 percent vaccination of guests and crew is in place in every port the line sails from around the world except for Florida. Passengers are required to show valid proof of vaccination. The state of Florida has mandated that businesses can't require proof of vaccination, a hurdle to NCLH enforcing its policy.
The line has successfully restarted in Greece on Norwegian Jade, and it set sail on Norwegian Encore on Friday from Seattle -- its first U.S. port departure since March 2020.
Other lines have found ways around the Florida law, encouraging guests to show proof of double vaccination, but not demanding it. Royal Caribbean for example has already made clear that those who do not voluntarily show proof of vaccination will face additional health and safety protocols while onboard and ashore.
"We want nothing more than to sail from Miami, the cruise capital of the world, and from the other fabulous Florida ports, and we welcome today’s ruling that allows us to sail with 100 percent fully vaccinated guests and crew, which we believe is the safest and most prudent way to resume cruise operations amid this global pandemic," Del Rio added.