(1:45 p.m. EDT) -- Norwegian Cruise Lines continued its restart on August 15 with a notable first -- with Norwegian Gem, the line became the first cruise ship to sail from Florida with fully vaccinated passengers and crew.
It was a moment that was legally won. In July, the line's parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, sued the state of Florida, which currently bans businesses from requiring people to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status. The cruise company has been adamant that it wants 100 percent of the people onboard vaccinated, as opposed to adopting voyages that allow a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers, through October 31, 2021.
On August 8, a judge with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled in favor of a preliminary injunction on the law, which allowed the cruise line to go ahead with its policy. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has said that he will appeal the ruling.
The move also continues NCL's restart globally. The line's first ship back was Norwegian Jade in Greece on July 25, followed by Norwegian Encore, which sailed from Seattle to Alaska on August 7. It marks the first time the line has also used its new NCL Terminal in PortMiami, which can accommodate ships carrying up to 5,000 passengers.
"It has been an exhilarating few weeks as we relaunch our fleet, reunite with our shipboard families and welcome our guests back for their long-awaited cruise vacations," said Harry Sommer, NCL's president and chief executive officer, in a press release.
"Today is even more special as it is the first time we are relaunching from our hometown and from the new NCL Terminal at PortMiami. After many months, we are ready to deliver a safe and memorable experience for our guests at every step of their cruise journey."
On its first cruise back, Norwegian Gem is sailing to Costa May and Cozumel in Mexico; Roatan in Honduras and Harvest Caye, the company's private island in Belize. The ship will continue with weeklong Caribbean cruises, as well as four-day cruises to The Bahamas, through October 17, 2021, when it repositions to New York. There, it will sail five to 11-night cruises to The Bahamas, Caribbean and Bermuda.