Celebrity Cruises is waving off threats by Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis to enforce Florida’s ban on vaccine passports.
A spokesperson for the Royal Caribbean subsidiary told USA Today it will press forward with plans to require proof of vaccination before embarking on its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-approved maiden voyage June 26 from Fort Lauderdale and its subsequent sailings from Florida through the fall.
It’s the first cruise line to earn the federal agency’s approval under strict new COVID-19 requirements for cruises with paying passengers – requiring 95 percent of crew and passengers to be “fully vaccinated.”
That requirement violates “the spirit” of the governor’s emergency order protecting “the right to medical privacy” for Floridians, a DeSantis spokesperson said. A bill signed into law by DeSantis, taking effect July 1, also bans vaccine passports.
The governor on Friday singled out Florida cruise lines in remarks carried by WPLG Local 10.
“We are going to enforce Florida law,” he said during a stop in Lakeland. “You don’t pass laws and then not enforce them against giant corporations. It doesn’t work that way.”
DeSantis said the CDC doesn’t have the authority to shut down cruise lines for failure to comply with its COVID-19 guidance. Cruise ship attorney Jim Walker told USA Today that Celebrity would have to take DeSantis to court to clarify whose authority prevails on proof of vaccination.