New Bill Seeks to Overturn CDC Cruise Guidelines

Port of Miami

A new bill introduced by three U.S. Senators—two from Florida and one from Alaska—seeks to override the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s existing recommendations for resuming travel on cruise ships.

The new bill, introduced by Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida and Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska, all Republicans, is known as the Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancements, or CRUISE Act.

If passed, it would require the CDC to revoke its current recommendations by July 4. It also calls for a collaboration between the secretaries of Transportation, Homeland Security and Commerce, along with industry representatives, to develop a new set of CDC cruise ship recommendations. Cruise lines would need to secure agreements with ports and local health authorities in the cities they plan to visit before they could begin test voyages and then open to passengers.

“While many sectors of the economy have been safely operating for months under CDC guidelines, Floridians, and those across the nation that rely on the cruise industry for work, continue to wait for updated guidance from the CDC,” Scott said in a statement. “The CDC’s refusal to properly address this shutdown is wrong, and it’s time to get the cruise lines open safely.”

“Floridians and many other Americans who are employed by ports, cruise operators, or work in hospitality jobs near cruise terminals face an uncertain future because of the CDC’s unresponsiveness to requests for guidance by stakeholder groups,” said Rubio in a statement. “I am proud to join Senators Sullivan and Scott in introducing legislation that would require the CDC to provide guidance to safely resume operations this summer, and allow Florida’s economy to recover even further.”

Meanwhile, Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has sued the CDC and signed an Executive Order banning vaccine passports in his state, which conflicts with the plans of two cruise lines—Norwegian Cruise Line and Silversea, both scheduled to sail from Florida later this year—to require vaccines for all passengers.

“The Governor’s Executive Order provides that businesses in Florida are prohibited from requiring patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-transmission recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the business,” his press secretary Cody McCloud told the Sun Sentinel. “Therefore, the Executive Order prohibits cruise lines from requiring vaccine passports for their Florida operations.”

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.