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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Sues Florida Over Vaccine Requirements

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the surgeon general for the State of Florida.

The lawsuit challenges the state’s action of fining businesses that require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of Norwegian’s previously announced August 15 restart from Florida, where the line has promised 100 percent vaccinated sailings.

In the filing, which was obtained by Cruise Industry News, Norwegian calls it a “last resort.”

Norwegian had previously announced that sailings through Oct. 31 will take place with 100 percent vaccinated guests (including children) and crew.

The state of Florida, however, has ruled that businesses cannot require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations and will fine any business $5,000 per incident.

Norwegian said that without court help, it will not be able to sail “as it has assured it passengers” who it said “overwhelmingly support vaccination and documentation of it.”

Norwegian said that if the vaccination proof ban is enforced, voyages will be placed at risk of cancellation, disruption, and possible COVID-19 outbreak.

“Worst of all, human life and safety would be placed at undue risk,” the company said.

Of note, Norwegian also said of any COVID-19 incident: “The potential spread of the severe and highly contagious Delta variant is another factor driving NCLH’s decision to require 100% vaccination on its voyages.

“The additional requirements that unvaccinated passengers would have to satisfy in order to sail would mean that their cruising experience would be restricted, less safe, and ultimately below the standards set by NCLH. Moreover, trying to enforce such restrictions onboard any given NCLH ship would more broadly compromise the safety, flexibility, and enjoyment of all passengers, vaccinated and unvaccinated alike.”

Another cruise operator, Royal Caribbean Group, has instituted COVID-19 testing for passengers departing Florida that don’t show proof of vaccination, with those guests having to pay for their own tests.

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