Florida Wins Case Against the CDC’s Conditional Sail Order

Today, a federal judge threw out U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) safety rules for cruise companies operating in Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s 124-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday of the Middle District of Florida is a win in Florida’s case against the CDC.

As a result, the conditional sail order can remain in place for Florida cruises only until July 18, granting DeSantis’ request for a preliminary injunction while the full case moves forward. After July 18, the CDC’s rules will turn into non-binding recommendations for cruise companies.

Today’s ruling is a victory for the hardworking Floridians whose livelihoods depend on the cruise industry. The federal government does not, nor should it ever, have the authority to single out and lock down an entire industry indefinitely. I am excited to see the cruise industry get sailing again, and proud to stand with Governor Ron DeSantis against illegal federal overreach and draconian lockdown measures.

Statement by Attorney General Ashley Moody

The CDC has until July 2 to propose a more limited set of cruise regulations to the court.

In April, Florida sued the CDC saying they were overstepping their bounds by preventing the cruise industry from resuming operations.

The following is a press release issued by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the federal district court in Tampa delivered a major victory for Governor Ron DeSantis against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its obstructionist No Sail Orders that have flatlined Florida’s cruise industry for over a year. Ruling in favor of Florida’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction, Judge Steven Merryday concluded the CDC’s restrictions are likely unconstitutional and overstepping their legal authority. The Cruise Industry will soon be permitted to set sail again thanks to the lawsuit brought by Governor DeSantis and Attorney General Moody. The state fought on behalf of the cruise industry in Florida to secure the ability to resume operations without overly burdensome requirements that discriminate against children, leave most of the ships sitting in port, and disregard the freedom of Floridians to make decisions for their families.

Beginning July 18, the CDC’s orders will become mere “guidance,” and cruise ships will hit the open waters once again free from the CDC. As Florida continues to thrive while open for business, the return of the cruise industry marks an important milestone in the fight for freedom.

“The CDC has been wrong all along, and they knew it,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “The CDC and the Biden Administration concocted a plan to sink the cruise industry, hiding behind bureaucratic delay and lawsuits. Today, we are securing this victory for Florida families, for the cruise industry, and for every state that wants to preserve its rights in the face of unprecedented federal overreach.”

Included in the ruling, the Middle District Court of Florida found that:

  • The CDC cannot discriminately keep children and families from cruising;
  • Neither the CDC, nor any federal agency, can require a vaccine passport; and
  • The CDC must create an actual framework for businesses to resume operations, rather than forcing them to conduct burdensome and bureaucratic tests without any standard by which to be measured.

In its ruling, the court says “Never has CDC (or a predecessor) detained a vessel for more than fifteen months; never has CDC implemented a widespread or industry-wide detention of a fleet of vessels in American waters; never has CDC condition pratique as extensively and burdensomely as the conditional sailing order; and never has CDC imposed restrictions that have summarily dismissed the effectiveness of state regulation and halted for an extended time an entire multi-billion dollar industry nationwide. In a word, never has CDC implemented measures as extensive, disabling and exclusive as those under review in this action.

Judge Merryday also cites a previous ruling stating, “When an agency claims to discover in a long-extant statute an unheralded power to regulate ‘a significant portion of the American economy,’ we typically greet its announcement with a measure of skepticism.”

55 Replies to “Florida Wins Case Against the CDC’s Conditional Sail Order”

  1. fishyrocketboy

    “oday’s ruling is a victory for the hardworking Floridians whose livelihoods depend on the cruise industry. The federal government does not, nor should it ever, have the authority to single out and lock down an entire industry indefinitely. I am excited to see the cruise industry get sailing again, and proud to stand with Governor Ron DeSantis against illegal federal overreach and draconian lockdown measures.”

    But DeSantis is going again the cruise industries as they all want to require guests to be vaccinated for the time being…

  2. Alan

    Yeah like his order baring a buissines form asking if someone is vaccinated. That should be up to the business and the customer, not the government.

  3. Dennis C

    As the old saying goes, this is a day late and a dollar short. More likely than not the CDC will simply respond that the conditional no sail order at its current level (3 as of 6/17) addresses the courts request for limited rules: With the order currently at level 3, indicating that all vaccinated passengers can safely sail, and the number of Americans fully vaccinated climbing, the conditional no sail order will likely expire within weeks of the 7/18 date when it reaches level 1.

    In a nutshell: By the time 7/18 rolls around there’s a good chance this ruling will be moot.

    Something else to keep in mind is that once passengers board all safety protocols will be at the discretion of the cruise line. Also, if cruise lines want passengers to submit to a covid test prior to boarding they’ll be within their right to do so. The work around to no proof of vaccine? If you want to skip the covid test you may present a vaccination card.

  4. Darren

    So if I read this right.
    The CSO has been tossed, including the 95/98% vaccination rule.
    The cruise lines still want to operate 100% (or so) vaccinated cruises. They say customers want that too.
    Florida has a law (untested) that prohibits asking for proof of vaccination. If they do, the can be fined $5000 per passenger asked. Symphony of the Seas would mean a state revenue of $33m per cruise.

    Who has actually ‘won’?

  5. Jo

    Gov. DeSantis is not guilty of government overreach; he is standing up against it. Americans do not want to have their personal liberties given by God and protected in our country by our Constitution infringed upon by power hungry bureaucrats, nor do we want to become a country where we must “show our papers”. Now can we all take a step back from politics and celebrate the fact that this situation is getting better and we can look forward to going back to cruising.

  6. PLI

    My family has been on three Disney cruises. Loved them all. We booked the 9-day Southern Caribbean cruise for July 2022 because we’re hoping by then our 11 year old daughter (turning 11 in December) will be fully vaccinated. What matters to us is how the current dispute between Florida and the cruise lines regarding vaccine passports gets resolved. My wife and I probably will probably cancel our reservation if cruise lines are not allowed to require proof of vaccination in order to sail from Florida ports (or if Disney complies with the Florida law). Even if my daughter is vaccinated by then (my wife and I are). It will be our way of protesting a law that’s not based on either health or business, but politics. The more people who are vaccinated the less likely the chance of break-through infections. Private businesses have a right to protect their customers and employees. The fact is that Disney and the other cruise lines will not lose any business if they enforce the proof of vaccination requirement; in fact, on balance, I think they’ll gain more customers than they’ll lose by demonstrating they are acting responsibly. If this law is enforced I hope Disney and the other cruise lines sail out of other ports elsewhere in the US or in the Caribbean rather than Florida. I don’t frankly care if it seems “discriminatory” against people who knowingly refuse to get vaccinated. I’m guessing some people here (perhaps many) will disagree, so let’s keep it civil. Thanks.

  7. L

    jo, what??? LOL the “government” of florida, aka deathsantis, is telling private business what they may and may not do. that is the definition of government overreach.

  8. Mary Ann Morrison

    PLI…I agree with you 100% also. We have the Panama Canal, 2022 and Med with Greece in 2022. This past week we booked a 5 night Very Merry Time Cruise sailing from Miami. At this point, if the Florida Governor doesn’t change his stance, I am probably going to cancel the one out of Miami, and take a cruise with DCL sailing from San Diego in the fall if this doesn’t get resolved. Private business, in my opinion, should be setting their guidelines, not the Florida government. We’ve been sailing with DCL since 2000, and our last cruise was in Oct. 2019…way too long for me not to be sailing.

  9. Walt

    We have 2 future cruise with DCL. I will cancel my cruises for 2022 if no requirement of proofs of vaccinations and a negative test is not displayed before boarding. I don’t care where it is embarking. I value life and the lives of my family. And other passengers lives too. I am not Epicurean. I love life period. The government of Florida doesn’t make decisions for us.

  10. Alan

    You news to go back to school and study up better on U.S. government because you could not be more from from the true facts as you are now.

  11. Chuck

    Florida protests against vaccination requirements for cruises. Other countries don’t care about Florida’s inept governor. I can see it now, “Want to stop here, 100% vaccinated” watch other states jump at the chance to embark cruises. Victory for his political aspirations, not for Florida.

  12. Steve

    You have obviously never traveled to another country that requires vaccination proof for different things, like Poland or South Aftrica. Having proof of vaccinations to travel is NOTHING new. And i think God would have something to say about “personal liberties’ and there is nothing in the Constitution about public health at the local level. The situation is NOT getting better, nor will it ever be. Viruses don’t leave. Are you as outraged that there is still no vaccination for HIV after FORTY years? Or is that for the wrong type of people?

  13. John

    I’m going to cancel my cruise if they require vaccinations. Absolutely no way I’m vaccinating my children against a virus that doesn’t even impact them. Don’t ask me my vaccination status and I won’t ask about yours. Do you ask if anyone has had their measles or meningitis or rubella? I don’t think so. All way more deadly to children than COVID. Look up the stats at the CDC. More young adults this year have died of bacterial meningitis than COVID.

  14. Disney Family

    Ask a parent of a healthy, no pre existing conditions, child or teen – who has DIED from covid. We are not willing to take any chances with our child. Vaccines for all diseases are a help to keep children and everyone healthy. Everyone working for the best interests of everyone is the most responsible action for everyone. The person you help maybe someone you love.

  15. Disney Family

    Do you have a drivers license? That is government required. If you do not have a license you are not to drive. Do you stop at stop signs? They are government placed. If you do not have a drivers license or stop at a stop sign there are consequences. Our rights are not to do whatever one wants. With rights come responsibility. When people do not act responsibily then government acts in the best interests of all, because some people refuse to do the right thing for everyone. We all show ‘our papers’ with drivers licenses, social security cards, passports, etc, etc, etc. If someone does not want to follow the governments or a companies rules then don’t – that is up to each person – but without following guidelines for the good of all – it could affect your situation and participation. Acting responsibilly with rights is acting maturely. Thinking of the good for everyoine, would create a kinder world and community.

  16. John

    Disney Family – then don’t take your child on a cruise or to the grocery store or allow them to ever go to school again. Wrap them in a bubble. You’re more likely to die in a car accident on the way to get the vaccine than die from COVID. You need to choose the risk level you are comfortable with for both yourself and for your children. I had a family member go though chemo, immunocompromised for months. We didn’t force everyone around us to mask up or tell me their vaccination status for everything. We decided on our own what we felt comfortable doing without making everyone else sacrifice. I’m all for a kinder world, absolutely. I’m also for a world where people continue to take responsibility for themselves without forcing others to choose a path they decide is not for them. For those that are vaccinated, it shouldn’t matter as long as the the vaccine is as effective as it appears. All of my young children are vaccinated against all of the typical childhood diseases. Safe and effective. But I also don’t care if the child next to me didn’t get the MMR vaccine. We’re vaccinated. I see no difference with COVID. Get it or don’t. No need to ask.

  17. Disney Family

    John – interesting you choose what rules you want to follow – our children participate in many activities with many people in many situations – as far as a car crash – most likely someone was not following laws for the safety of all – their claim is that speed limits and traffic laws are restricting their freedom – have you considered all the ways citizens already should work within requirements and ‘papers’ – diseases and vaccines are not political –

  18. Love to Cruise

    From what we read and to our understanding on Royal Caribbean’s site – guests may choose to prove vaccination or pay themselves for regular testing – it is not required to show proof of vaccination – so Florida law will not be violated – an alternative to proof of vaccination is provided for – many cruise lines have had similar policies in the past and it is possible that this will happen again – all cruise lines want to have very limited positive situations – all cruise lines want to be back in operation and continue sailing – they are looking for ways to reduce risks – there are also many surveys that the results say potential cruise passengers support a vaccine proof requirement – several on this comment strand have said the same – interesting to think on

  19. Disney Family

    If we are reading Royal Carribbean’s website correctly – proof of vaccination is optional – but if it is not provided then the guest is responsible for regular testing and the cost of the testing – this will not violate Florida law as proof is not required and there is a provision made for those who do not want to share their vaccination status – cruise companies want to sail and continue sailing – they want to reduce risks in any way they think they can – anything that will help – cruise lines often adopt similar procedures – something like this may be coming on other cruise lines – there are several surveys that cruise passengers prefer that there be a vaccine requirement for sailing – there are several posts on this site saying the same – things to think about

  20. John

    Disney Family – We likely agree more than we disagree. There are no hard and fast rules for COVID vaccines. If you let your children participate in many activities with many people in many situations as you say. then you already know that they are exposed to all sorts of things (virus or other) you have no idea about. If you feel safe then, you should feel safe now. No one is asking about or requiring anything, as it should be. But you are absolutely correct about diseases and vaccines not being political. They shouldn’t. So stop making them so and let someone choose. Like any other vaccine, it it works then you and your children have nothing to worry about in any situation including a Disney cruise.

  21. John

    It will be interesting to see what RC does as well as other lines once the injunction is actually in place on July 18. With proof of vaccination optional and FL and TX law requiring them to not ask, seems like someone could simply tell them anything they want to hear. Can’t wait to see how it plays out. As a cruise line, especially with the vaccine unlikely to be approved for children under 10 at least for many months, it would end the family cruise as we know it. They’ll have to make a decision at some point to either exclude families or go back to normal. You’d be essentially requiring extra payment for testing, etc. and discriminating against anyone cruising with children under 10. That won’t go over well.

  22. Disney Family

    Go and read – those not yet approved for vacination because they are too young are a separate category with different requirements – cruise lines are big into families and will always make accomodations for them – we believe that a vaccination proof could be asked for voluntarily – and without showing one voluntarily then a passenger could just follow the unvaccinated procedures – you just don’t get this entire conversation – there are many comments included in this thread that are being commented about – look at the big picture

  23. John

    I have gone and read. I’ve read quite a bit. And I’m looking at the big picture for sure. But what the FL and TX laws are trying to fix is exactly what you seem to think is perfectly OK…a separate class of cruisers with different requirements based on no fault of their own besides their age. Why would a family with children under 10 be forced to pay more, mask up, be separated, possibly forced out of certain venues all because their children can’t be vaccinated based on the government rules you seem to enjoy so much? My point is simple and it seems you don’t get this entire conversation: Cruise lines and other businesses should not be asking for proof of vaccination. For those that are vaccinated, it should be meaningless what others are doing. If they are asking for COVID vaccination proof, why not MMR or meningitis or a stool sample for giardia? Where does it end? Seems crazy to ask for one when the others are just as deadly. I agree with earlier posters, the likelihood that the CDC simply lets their rules expire is high. Cruise companies will find it hard to not go back to normal with nothing preventing them from doing so.

  24. Enuff

    I refuse to spend thousands of dollars to be segregated on my vacation. Period. If DCL wants to continue to play this game then we’ll spend our money elsewhere. Every single day WDW removes another restriction. Every. Single. Day. No more masks. No more line spacing. Barriers are removed. Line queues are back. Fireworks are back. The game is over. There is absolutely no reason for cruise ships to operate any differently. As someone else said, if you are vaccinated then the rest of us are no threat to you. Take your vax and shut up. The rest of us are going to live out the rest of our lives normally and heathy. If you are that afraid, then perhaps you should remain in your homes indefinitely. Don’t go out to shop, or out to eat, or to work or even go on vacation. You probably should not risk life.

  25. Walt

    Do as you please people. It a choice. Just respect the rules and regulations placed by the cruise lines, whatever it may be, not the governor of Florida. If you are not happy with the rules and regulations you can spend your money somewhere else. Someone else will be happy to have it. It is called contributing to the economy.

  26. John

    Walt – I agree with you up to a point. But if the cruise lines decide to ask for proof of vaccination then they would be in violation of FL law. I’m all for private businesses doing what they want, but within reason. There are actually good rules, laws and regulations that provide consistency across businesses within a state. I wouldn’t want my local restaurant to decide their freezer could store food at a higher temperature for example. That’s a set regulation. So is not requiring proof of vaccination. You seem to be advocating cruise lines to do whatever they want or even break FL law. I’m not sure that’s the answer either. In the end the market will decide and you can bet for most lines it won’t be asking for vaccination. That will be left for lines like Viking who haven’t had cruisers less than 18 years old for a long time. The worst is what Carnival is having to do right now. They literally can’t tell a family with kids under 11 whether they are even on the cruise they booked until all deposits from all customers are paid and even then you could be tossed due to the current 95% rule. How many families are going to book cruises, pay and still know they might not even be on board? Not many. Most families need to be able to plan around work, school, etc. Disney will find the same problems going forward. It’s a mess. Easiest solution: go back to normal just like everything else.

  27. Enuff

    Well said, John. Cruise lines should follow the law and let the market decide. If someone is that afraid, then one should stay home.

  28. Walt

    Or the cruise lines can go to the ports of states or countries that will abide my their rules and regulations since the cruise lines will carry the burden or responsibilities if anything should go wrong. Florida is not the only state with ports for cruise lines, though it is convenient. I listen to those that says you can stay home, remember that goes both ways. You can do the same if things don’t go your way. Lol.

  29. John

    I agree Walt. Cruise lines can move their operations and they should do so if they feel it is in their best interest. But likely not. How many megaships can you get in to Baltimore, NY, San Diego, Nassau, DR, etc? Texas is also not an option now. We all know (and they know too) they have 1 main option for continuing operations as usual and that’s FL as their main port. Do you think brands like Norwegian or Disney are going to abandon brand new port facilities in FL? Unlikely. They’re stuck and they know it. Norwegian abandoned its DR sailing plans within weeks of announcing them. Most others will follow.

  30. Enuff

    @Walt. With these large cruise ships it’s not like driving from one parking lot to another. Sure there are other ports but none that can handle the size ships that DCL or many other lines own. And I’ll say it again. If YOU are scared, then YOU stay home. I’m not scared of anything that has a 99.5% mortality rate and can be cured with well known, safe and widely used therapies (HCQ for one). Remember, your health is your responsibility. Not everyone else’s.

  31. PLI

    I think John and Walt make some good points, but going back to my original post, I respectfully disagree. If an adult willingly makes a choice not to get vaccinated he/she should not be allowed to board, period. And if a cruise line wants to enforce proof of vaccination, as a private business they should be allowed to go beyond what the state of Florida permits to keep its passengers/employees safe. I think the comparisons between WDW and DCL are to be taken with a grain of salt. As to the parks, at least many of the activities are outdoors (even waiting in line). The restaurants/hotels/resorts are probably a lot safer than being on a cruise ship like the Fantasy (our ship for all three of our prior cruises), where you have 6000+ passengers and crew tucked in very tight spaces with no chance for distancing.

    As a personal matter, I think it’s crazy to even consider cruising this year. Disney in particular is in a difficult spot since the cruises are primarily catered to families with small children. My daughter LOVES the kids clubs. We have made the family decision not to attempt to cruise until next July, when hopefully our 10-year old daughter will be vaccinated and some of the restrictions will be removed (like at the Cabanas buffet, which we love). We’ll reassess in January whether it’s worth it; if not we’ll cancel and get our deposit back. We’re booked on the Southern Caribbean cruise.

    Hope I can see some of you on that cruise and we can talk over more mundane things (like how MLB pitchers are doctoring the baseballs to get a better grip and get more spin on the ball—stuff like that) over a beer!

  32. S

    PLI – we are also booked on that same cruise. Yes MLB craziness is a good distraction from all of these other things. I don’t mind some of the requirements of the cruise line or even CDC but if they make me want to schedule everything and take away the spontaneous nature of being on a cruise ship then I am out. I hope they bring back buffet’s and eat whenever you want on the ship rather than scheduling everything to death. Then it no longer feels like a vacation but rather another job.

    I sure hope DCL is able to restart cruising sooner than later though and that they are able to offer those experiences that make them a cut above the rest in the industry. What happens with real paying customers on the first few cruises will tell a lot about the future of the industry.

  33. John

    Thanks PLI and S. Good to know folks can respectfully debate differences in opinions. Only a couple of things that struck me about the comments from PIL. There seems to be an idea from many that a cruise line or perhaps any other private business should be able to do what they want, even if it is against the law. I find it hard to agree with that. Such a slippery slope of picking and choosing which laws to follow. Not sure any of us want to go down that path. If a cruise line wants to move to avoid the law, I think that needs to be their option. Working and lobbying to get the law changed is also a course of action.

    The other comment about not being allowed to board if not vaccinated is still curious to me. I struggle with understanding the fear of those that choose to vaccinate and why they are still so fearful. Does it work or not? I don’t see that same fear about other vaccinations. The rest of your COVID vaccinated life you will come into contact every single day with one or perhaps hundreds of non-COVID-vaccinated people that you will never even know about. Every single day. It is happening already. I find it interesting knowing that something like a cruise would scare someone so much but a packed sports venue or bar would not. The science shows very little difference in transmission. Respectfully trying to understand.

  34. S

    I think of this like the Flu shot (vaccine). More than 40% of people never get the flu shot, yet we don’t ban them from businesses or places of vacation. Now, I understand that the flu in the US doesn’t cause as many deaths as COVID so not trying to draw that medical comparison but rather just using it as an example.

    Personally, I don’t think we should have a law that forbids private businesses from asking most of these things if that is how they choose to do business. However, it is the law, so follow it. If you don’t agree, take your business to a location that has a law that you like.

    I think anyone and everyone should be able to board a cruise ship. Now, if cruise lines want to have testing have testing. They could easily say we are testing everyone on board the ship in XYZ manner at ABC cost (which actually should just get built into the pricing). If you want to exempt yourself from such testing/cost then you are free of your own choosing to tell us about your vaccination status by having your medical professional fill out this form for us. Your choice. You don’t have to tell us. If you tell us, we will give you a stateroom credit for ABC amount. Problem solved. No one is requiring it yet you get a benefit for either doing it or sharing it. There is no perfect answer here but we have to start somewhere and then evolve.

    in FL, where I am from not even 50% of adults are fully vaccinated and yet everyone and i mean everyone is out and about and most folks are in all restaurants, etc constantly being exposed to more people who are unvaccinated than vaccinated – yet it doesn’t seem to stop people from going to the grocery store, restaurant, repair shop, car dealer, etc.

    I hope this conversation stays civil and I hope Scott keeps this thread up towards the front so that we all can continue to have this civil discourse.


  35. John

    Thanks S. Thinking the exact same thing about testing. Neighbors with 3 kids under 12 just went to Aruba this last week. No vaccinations but testing was required. Makes sense to me especially for stays or cruises of 7 days or less. I would have no issue supplying a test result or having the cruise line test prior to boarding.

    I’m in SC, likely even less vaccinated here. Same here as far as life being back to normal. You would never know. Not a mask in sight, bars and restaurants absolutely packed. Life is returning. We’re all thankful. Now to just get cruising back to normal. We’re scheduled for January and hoping we can go with no issues.

  36. S

    Thanks John. We have back to back (our first one ever) scheduled for this December 2021 (foolish me thought that by summer all of this would be back to normal so I added a fudge factor and chose December) 🙂 LOL. Our back to back is on the Dream out of Port Canaveral on 12/24 and then again on 12/27 – same stateroom and all which will be a cool experience and something we have always wanted to do. I sure hope things are back to normal by then and that we can go with no issues. I would hate to cancel that one and then wait all the way until next summer to get on a ship.

    This link will tell you what is happening with vaccination rates in each state: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations

    It is interesting to see the map. The data is inconsistent state to state as it dependent on each state and how they report the numbers.

  37. John

    Thanks for the link. Should be back to normal soon. The original CSO was set to expire on Oct 31. I imagine unless the CDC decides to appeal or issue some type of modified CSO by the July 2 deadline, they will expire it earlier on July 18 as per the injunction or at the worst expire as intended in Oct. Just looking at some of the cruise line websites and where they’re positioning ships in November seems to show they’re expecting things to be pretty much back to normal in FL. So hopefully, your Dec cruise and our Jan cruise can go off without a hitch (or maybe a test).

  38. PLI

    John, thanks for your thoughtful reply. Here’s my thinking. First, the more people who get vaccinated, the better in terms of keeping this under control. Second, over 4M children have gotten infected. While hospitalizations/deaths thankfully have been rare, they still happen. Third, by requiring everyone to get vaccinated and show proof. there is a lesser chance of breakthrough infections (rare as they are). Fourth, I fail to see a practical difference between requiring passenger to have proof of vaccination and testing. Right now, on the DCL website, DCL is requiring (at least for cruises leaving the UK) negative covid tests. Why is this ok and vaccinations are not ok? It’s still an invasion of medical privacy. Fifth, while the passport ban is the law in Florida, I’m not sure it’s constitutional. The cruise lines engage in interstate commerce and its ships sail in international waters and make stops outside the United States. I think Florida’s jurisdiction here is questionable. This needs to be tested in court.

    Without a vaccination passport, I’m afraid that DCL and the other cruise lines will require daily testing, restrict buffets, etc. that will impede on the cruise experience, which we’re all paying a lot of money for. I don’t think the Florida law covers other things that the cruise lines can do on board to try to keep people safe. Vaccine passports offer a way out of this problem. And the last thing any of them want are on-board infections.

    Anyway, don’t expect to change any minds out there. Hope you and everyone here gets to cruise and has a terrific time!

  39. John

    Thanks PLI. Those are all good reasons for sure and I can jump on board many of those being a citizen of the world and all. But it still doesn’t answer my real, very direct question as to why vaccinated folks are so fearful even after vaccination. It doesn’t add up. It seems to be more of a righteous, moral obligation for those that are vaccinated to push or require others to do the same thing. I see it like the driver in the fast lane going 55 forcing everyone to pass simply because they feel they have the moral duty to force people to go the speed limit.

    As for getting on a cruise, I’d prefer to not have any of it of course. But a negative covid test is much different. No one poked me or my children with an experimental vaccine. And yes. it’s still experimental and is being used via an emergency use authorization. Which is a little scary for some of us. A covid test is also not much different than the current procedure to ask if you have had any norovirus or giardia like symptoms prior to boarding. All the test is showing is I don’t currently have it, nothing more, nothing less. I find simple questions or a simple test much less invasive from a privacy and medical perspective.

    As for the ban, quite possibly it is illegal. But actions speak volumes and no cruise line or business has decided to fight it. With no federal appetite for a passport my guess is FL and TX laws will stand. I’m no attorney but my guess is FL must have some decent standing or it would have been tossed before it even began.

  40. Jo

    Hi Everybody, Glad for all those who are giving their opinion. It’s nice to hear different points of view. I will say that to me the difference in testing and proof of vaccination is that the test (though not 100% accurate) is not having someone receive a shot of something that is experimental and does not yet even have FDA approval. Plus, there are some people who are allergic to ingredients contained in vaccines. This particular “vaccine” has not had sufficient time to be tested or to have data on how it effects people in different age groups. I think if someone is more susceptible to the ravages of this particular virus than the odds would seem to favor getting the shot; however, if someone is young, or has a robust immune system the odds would be (to me) in favor of not getting the shot. Please do not respond by saying I do not care about others; I do which is one of the reasons I stay home if I am sick even with the common cold. When I have traveled abroad there were shots that were required to travel to certain areas of the world. Those were shots that had a very long history of preventing the disease that was prevalent in that particular country and it made sense to get them. This is not the same thing.
    This is still considered experimental and I cannot imagine having a minor child be vaccinated in this situation. If someone chooses to be vaccinated or have their child vaccinated, I would never say they were wrong. It is their family and their responsibility to make that choice. I would assume they made the choice they did out of love. Please give us who choose differently, the same courtesy. Hope all of us are able to cruise in the near future. Fair winds and following seas.

  41. PLI

    I don’t necessarily think it’s accurate to refer to the EUA vaccines as “experimental.” They’ve been rigorously tested and EUA was provided because the benefits were deemed to substantially outweigh the risks, given the severity of the outbreak. See this link. https://healthfeedback.org/claimreview/covid-19-vaccines-received-emergency-use-authorization-from-the-fda-after-clinical-trials-demonstrated-that-they-are-safe-and-effective-covid-19-vaccines-arent-experimenta/.

    Now, none of this is to say that I would be a volunteer for the vaccine trials, nor would my wife and I volunteer our daughter for the trials. That’s a bridge too far even for me.

    And John, I certainly don’t fault you or question your motives when you say getting this vaccine for yourself and your children is little bit scary. I agree with you; but I’ll also say a lot of what has happened in the past 15 months is scary and unprecedented. I know people who have died and plenty more who have gotten very sick. I know people who’ve lost their jobs and livelihoods. My firm furloughed many people and those who remained took a pay cut, including me (which has been restored after many months, otherwise I wouldn’t even consider going on a Disney cruise). I’ve had to become a substitute teacher for my daughter, which has itself been a challenge. I could go on and on, but I suspect you and others in this thread have experienced the same or worse.

    My perspective, which may or may not be shared by others here, is this: I view these vaccines, and their rollout, even considering the mistakes and setbacks, as miracles of modern medicine and logistics. They have been proven to work in both clinical trials and now in the real world. There are people in other parts of the world (like India, South America) who are literally dying because they don’t have ready access to the vaccines. The more people who get vaccinated, the more likely we will get this disease under control. I think there’s a real danger of vaccine-resistant variants appearing if more people don’t get vaccinated. So, outside the rare individuals who have a proven history of reacting badly to vaccines to a point where it is dangerous for them to take the vaccine (i.e., go into shock, allergic to eggs), etc. I frankly think here that the benefits far outweigh the risks.

    And, Jo, I do believe you care about others. As for our family, we have weighed the risks. And we believe the risk is far greater for our unvaccinated ineligible daughter to contract COVID-19 on a very crowded cruise ship where ventilation is probably imperfect. Sooner or later she will come into contact with someone who can spread it to her. That is a risk we’re not willing to take. You have weighed the risks and have reached a different conclusion. No value judgments here.

    I do agree that have non-vaccination restrictions like masking will ruin the cruise experience. That’s why I found the announcement from Celebrity Cruises today to be so interesting. They apparently will not require proof of vaccination for it’s Florida departures, but will automatically assume that those who do not voluntarily provide proof will be deemed to be “unvaccinated” and will be subject to testing and masking restrictions and will also be responsible to have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure, submit to an antigen test at the port, submit to another antigen test midway through the cruise, and will have to wear masks at all time except when eating and drinking. There will be restrictions on where unvaccinated persons can sit in dining rooms and other places. And, as an added bonus, unvaccinated passengers will have to foot the bill for the antigen tests, which currently run about $178. These restrictions will not be in place throughout the country. For cruises departing outside of Florida, passengers who provide proof of vaccination will not have to wear masks.

    For me, even though I’m fully vaccinated, I frankly wouldn’t enjoy a cruise where such restrictions are in place, because it would still ruin the cruise experience for me. I think Celebrity is doing this to do two things: (1) encourage potential customers to get the vaccine; and (2) discourage non-vaccinated passengers from cruising with them. We’ll see how it plays out.

  42. John

    Thanks PLI. One could certainly debate the term “experimental”. Let’s just say then that the normal timing, trials, approvals, peer reviews, etc. were all shortened due to the severity of the outbreak. Even medical professionals like Dr. Fauci assumed it would be years before something came to market with all of the approvals needed. This clearly was rushed. I’m OK with that considering the alternative of doing nothing or waiting. The efficacy numbers are amazing. This vaccine clearly works. But what worries me is what don’t we know. Check this out recently from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/myocarditis.html. We’re only just beginning to understand the effects. For children the risk of covid is almost zero. I’m a numbers guy. The stats are everywhere. Children are at a very low risk to get covid and especially die from covid. My son here in upstate SC was in school 5 days a week since last September, full time in the building. The last 2 months in May and June without masks even. Do you know how many covid cases in children were in his elementary school? None, not a single one the entire school year. https://www.clover.k12.sc.us/Page/15864. The numbers are extremely low. Low enough that I have no intention whatsoever of vaccinating either one of my kids, especially with myocarditis, blood clots, etc all still being investigated. Too much risk on the vaccine side with almost no risk on the covid side. Just my personal opinion. I have no issues with anyone coming to a completely different conclusion.

    I agree that masking, etc and putting cruisers in to different classes will ruin the experience. If that is what it will be like in January I have no intention of going on our cruise. We’ll certainly cancel. But Celebrity is choosing then to basically restrict cruising to families with no children under 12. They’ll be the only ones that are capable of being on board fully vaccinated. Very interesting business decision and worth watching.

    But still curious about those that will only go on a cruise and feel safe if everyone is vaccinated? That still makes no sense to me. Consider just getting to the cruise. Airports, shuttles, terminals, airplanes, hotels, bars, restaurants. The list goes on and on of being in close proximity to thousands of non-vaccinated individuals. Or even excursions every day in countries that might not have even vaccinated 20% of their population. Once again surrounded by thousands of non-vaccinated individuals. But somehow getting back on your fully vaccinated cruise ship will now be safe and protective? The logic falls apart. Your vaccine either works or it doesn’t. If it’s OK to surround yourself before, during and after the cruise with thousands of non-vaccinated individuals, why would you worry about whether there were a few on the actual ship? Just trying to understand.

  43. Enuff

    Here’s the bottom line. We won’t be vaccinated and we refuse to be segregated and treated differently. I’m surprised that any cruise line would open themselves up to potential lawsuits from creating different classes of passengers. It’s completely ridiculous as there is no other form of transportation that requires proof of vaccination. And yes, I can spend my money elsewhere and I’m quite certain there are a lot of people that feel the same way. I can travel to almost anywhere on this planet cheaper than DCL. We love the Disney brand and service. It’s hard to beat and I’d hate to have to choose something else, but we will if we have to.

  44. Walt

    To add to Enuff’s comment is we will do the same if things are not to our likings either. There is no need for us to be bickering with each other when the decisions are in our hands to do as we please. Do what YOU think is right for you and your family. Let’s just all get along and hope that things get back to the way it was before the the pandemic. And if not we can all find some other ways to enjoy or entertain our vacations. Sad to say we have done DCL only. 20+

  45. PLI


    I’m glad your son’s school experience was relatively normal this year. My daughter’s school district (I live north of Pittsburgh) wasn’t so lucky. Several outbreaks and several closures. It is a very large, suburban school district. We decided we didn’t want any part of it and had her enrolled in a cyber charter school for 4th Grade. After an uncertain beginning, it actually ended up working quite well, in terms of her safety and academically. Hospitals/ICUs here were close to capacity, though fortunately, things weren’t quite as dire as they were in places like California, NYC, Texas, Arizona where they had no beds, no staff, no spaces in the morgues, etc.

    To answer your question, I will feel safer simply because simply the more people who are vaccinated, the chances of new, vaccine resistant variants diminishes, along with the possibility of breakthrough infections. While the possibility of infections may be low among children now, with new variants that could change. My wife doesn’t want to send our daughter back to brick and mortar until she’s vaccinated, which may not happen until fall. I’m undecided, but if there’s no masking requirement then she’s going to stay in cyber charter school for another year. And, I have seen the reports of blood clots, etc. Those too are extremely rare, and the experts say the benefits of getting the vaccine outweighs what appear to be minor risks.

    Here’s the irony, as I see it. You have the right to refuse the vaccine. You give logical reasons for doing so, and I respect the thoughtfulness of your posts. But, I think you have to acknowledge that without the vaccines it would be highly unlikely that the cruise lines would be able to operate this year. EU countries are allowing US tourists to come back because of our relatively high vaccination rates, and resulting decreasing infection rates. So, you are in effect benefitting from others getting vaccinated.

    I’m not a numbers guy, I’m a lawyer. And, I can tell you that the cruise lines, DCL included, are not so much interested in our health as they are in not getting sued and the bad publicity that comes with it. In other words, the bottom line. A large, or even a small, outbreak on even a single cruise will be damaging to the industry. They can make us sign all the releases from liability they want. They are not bullet proof. That’s why you see the silliness from Celebrity Cruises in seeking to segregate vaccinated from unvaccinated, masking for only unvaccinated passengers, etc. As I mentioned earlier, even though I’m fully vaccinated, I would not go on a cruise with those restrictions. One of the great things about cruising is the chance to mingle and meet new people. Our daughter still keeps in touch with kids she met in the kids clubs. My wife and I met some great people on our last cruise in the mixology class. All that would be lost if DCL did what Celebrity is doing. Not worth the time or money in my view.

    John, here’s wishing you safe and enjoyable cruising in January. Enjoyed our dialogue.

  46. John

    Thanks PLI for a lively and reasoned discussion. For right now, based on all of our risk factors and simply not knowing, I’ll wait. Lots of experts say lots of things and as you know we’ve found many of them to be seriously wrong as more evidence and data accumulated. They say the benefits outweigh the risks, but I’m not so sure for my family based on our risk factors if that is actually correct. If one feels differently or measures their risk differently, everyone can make their own choices and I’m good either way.

    Good luck, stay healthy and safe travels.

  47. 777Dad

    I have read every post and find it interesting that not a single person referenced those that have recovered from Covid. My entire family had it in Jan/Feb of this year. We either tested positive or had the antibody testing done a few weeks after recovery. My doctor told me that our antibodies are the “gold standard” against any variant and that we should definitely NOT get the shot.

    For those that argue the only way to cruise is to be “vaccinated”, I disagree. There have been thousands of breakthrough cases with those that have been “fully vaccinated”. While not every “case” develops symptoms, many have had to seek medical treatment after being fully vaccinated. It would seem to me that those who required medical treatment not only had symptoms, but were also contagious. In that light, I believe the push to be “fully vaccinated” provides nothing more than a false sense of security.

    That being said, the EU is allowing ‘Priory Recovery’ as one of the 3 requirements (Proof of Vaccination, Recovery, or Negative Test) for entry, so it would make sense that the cruise lines could create a similar plan. I might be willing to accept that as long as it did evolve into some sort of Medical Passport, but instead was a one-time medical form like we have had in the past.

    For those that believe in the shot and have been vaccinated, then you should have no fear from those who have not or have natural immunity. For those that argue that other countries require vaccinations (ie: Yellow Fever), I would argue that those shots have been around for decades with years of testing and data. This shot has been around less than a year, with zero long term studies.

    My family has been on over 10 cruises and DCL is our first and only choice. We have 2 cruises booked, but are considering canceling them depending on what requirements are presented. I would be hesitant to cruise if I was required to provide more than basic medical proof, submit to constant testing, sequestered into some category or group, or had to mask up. That is not a vacation I would spend hard earned money on and that is not freedom.

    For those that don’t want to get the shot or can’t for medical or religious reasons, I respect your right to choose and I would sail with you. Same goes for those that have had the shot, I respect your right to choose and I would sail with you. But, I would also respectfully ask you to respect the rights of others for their medical or religious choices.

    I find it sad how this issue has pitted neighbors, friends, and families against each other over the issue of shots, masks, & distancing. There is little respect for differences of opinion, what is good for your own health, or your families health. I think posts on this website have been respectful and I hope that continues.


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