Thanks to a Big Legal Win, Cruises Can Now Return to Florida Ports

For once, a Florida man’s crazy antics seem to have panned out

Cruise Ship
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A Florida man has just won big in court, securing the immediate future of the state’s cruise industry. Cruises can now officially restart from Florida ports as soon as July 18, 2021—without following the rules outlined in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Conditional Sailing Order—all thanks to a lawsuit filed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis back in April.

The controversial Republican governor hasn’t been alone in his criticism of how the cruise industry has been treated throughout the pandemic—it’s been a common cry among other politicians, cruise lines, and other cruise industry players. The big beef boils down to the fact that they all believe the cruise industry has been mistreated, citing that other tourism industries have been able to reopen with much less red tape and fewer hoops to jump through.

However, Governor DeSantis and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody are the first to sue the government over the continued sailing stalemate.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, DeSantis flexed against most federal guidelines. Earlier on in the pandemic, when most states were either going into lockdown or continuing lockdowns, Florida reopened completely, with DeSantis stating it was the best move for the economy.

It’s no surprise then, with Florida’s $65 billion cruise industry, that DeSantis has been outspoken against the pandemic-era restrictions. According to official court documents, the state's lawsuit consisted of five claims, mostly addressing the validity and reasoning behind the CDC’s previous 'No Sail Order' and current 'Conditional Sailing Order.'

For once, a Florida man’s crazy antics seem to have panned out.

Last week, a federal judge ruled that the CDC had overstepped its power in issuing its sailing orders and that the agency’s orders should be viewed only as guidelines, not as law.

“Florida’s motion for preliminary injunction is granted, and CDC is preliminarily enjoined from enforcing against a cruise ship arriving in, within, or departing from a port in Florida the conditional sailing order and the later measures (technical guidelines, manuals, and the like),” read the official ruling.

It goes on to state that starting on July 18, 2021, the CDC’s conditional sailing order will “persist only as a non-binding ‘consideration,’ ‘recommendation,’ or ‘guideline,’ and that the CDC must use the same practices to make recommendations for cruise ships as it does when considering recommendations for industries such as airlines, trains, hotels, casinos, subways, sports venues, and the like.

"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," DeSantis said in a statement.

Since this cruise industry victory only applies in Florida, we'll keep our eyes out if any other states follow suit to bypass the CDC.

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