Florida nabs victory in cruise industry lawsuit

The Bahamas Cruise Line Grand Classica pulls into the Port of Palm Beach on June 3, 2021.jpg
Posted at 3:42 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 17:12:42-04

MIAMI — A federal judge has sided with the state of Florida in a cruise industry lawsuit, calling the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's conditional sailing order unconstitutional.

It's all aboard for the first time in 15 months. Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean are preparing for a simulated sailing here in South Florida.

It's a similar story for Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line at the Port of Palm Beach.

"We are having a test cruise on June 25th with a select group of passengers as per CDC guidelines," said company CEO O'Neil Khosa.

Those guidelines have been up for debate after Gov. Ron Desantis sued the CDC for its conditional sailing order. On Friday, a ruling by a federal judge eliminated sailing requirements by the CDC.

Judge Steven Merryday said the sailing order relies on "stale data."

The ruling means the CDC also can’t enforce vaccine requirements from cruises leaving from Florida. DeSantis called it a win.

"You can’t have an agency relying on flimsy legal authority to just keep an entire industry closed with no path forward," DeSantis said.

The preliminary injection granted by Judge Merrday means after July 18, those CDC rule will become non-binding recommendations.

"I’m vaccinated I’ve been very healthy. I need to get out and see my friends and see my work family," said one Royal Caribbean employee.