Royal Caribbean Submits to New Florida Law and Will Not Require COVID-19 Vaccinations

January 7, 2022 Updated 8:32 PM ET

AN, Anthem of the Seas, Come Seek shoot Dec 2015 in Bahamas, aerials, at sea, ship exterior, 3/4 view starboard side, forward, front, ocean
AN, Anthem of the Seas, Come Seek shoot Dec 2015 in Bahamas, aerials, at sea, ship exterior, 3/4 view starboard side, forward, front, ocean

Friday, Royal Caribbean released a statement saying that passengers aboard their voyages departing from Florida will not be required to show proof of vaccination.

The release is a reversal from their prior policy submission to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in May. This release would require all patrons to show proof of vaccination to board.

A spokeswoman for the cruise liner said that the rule requiring patrons to be vaccinated was meant to fulfill the CDC requirement for cruise liners to meet certain vaccination thresholds before beginning regular revenue cruises.

Cruise lines that did not meet the proper threshold would have to successfully finish test cruises to be approved for operation. In an email, she said the company intends to “comply with federal, state, and local laws.”

Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill into law that will legally prohibit businesses operating in Florida from requiring patrons to be vaccinated for their services. This law would apply to any cruise departing from Florida. The law takes effect July 1st.

Royal Caribbean’s policy on cruises departing from other states, like Washington, requires patrons to be vaccinated to board.

CEO of Royal Caribbean, Michael Bayley, gave thanks to Governor DeSantis for his support of the cruise industry, which has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The cruise line’s comments come amidst an ongoing lawsuit between Governor DeSantis and the CDC. DeSantis is challenging the CDC’s authority to dictate the policies of cruise lines operating in the state of Florida.

The lawsuit was ordered by a judge to enter mediation before June 1st. DeSantis has recently said that he believes Florida will win the lawsuit.

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