ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) — Both Norwegian and Royal Caribbean cruise lines have submitted plans to resume voyages and none of the plans include sailing from Florida.
It’s been 14 months since the pandemic brought the cruise industry to a halt, and on Monday, Norwegian became the latest to announce plans to start sailing from Seattle to Alaska.
“To have cruises actually saying that they’re going to be sailing out of a U.S. port is significant for the industry. That being said, the CDC still has to give final approval for these sailings out of Seattle,” cruise expert Chris Gray Faust said.
Four different cruise lines have announced plans to sail to Alaska with fully vaccinated passengers only.
Unlike Florida, Alaska has no law preventing a company from asking for proof of vaccination, so cruise lines are using the vaccination requirement as a way to get CDC approval to start sailing again.
Currently, a federal order requires each ship to earn a certificate to sail by ensuring COVID-19 safety precautions are in place and proving it during a test sailing. Those requirements stand unless the cruise line commits to sailing with 98% of the crew and 95% of its passengers fully vaccinated.
It is unclear when sailing will start again at Port Canaveral.
Royal Caribbean has reached an agreement with the port to start the required CDC test cruises in June.
Norweigan is set to sail out of Port Canaveral in November but wants to do so with 100% of its passengers and crew members fully vaccinated, and Florida law forbids asking for proof.
The managing editor of CruiseCritic.com said their latest survey shows most people planning to cruise support vaccine requirements.
“It’s at 86% right now, but that’s up 5% from January, so the idea of having to have a vaccine to cruise has actually been gaining more traction over the last few months,” Faust said.