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08/09/2021

Federal Judge Says Norwegian Cruise Line Can Require Guests, Crew be Vaccinated at Florida Ports

Florida prohibited the company from requiring vaccine documentation which the company believed would enable it to resume sailing in the safest way possible.
Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor (Hotels)
Michal Christine  Escobar  profile picture

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH), a global cruise company which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, is pleased to report that Judge Williams ruled in its favor granting a preliminary injunction which paves the way for the company’s three brands to require documentation confirming a guest’s vaccination status prior to boarding. This order will now allow the Company to operate in the safest way possible with 100% vaccinationi of all guests and crew when sailing from Florida ports. Nothing takes priority over the health and safety of the Company’s guests, crew and the communities visited and its commitment to them is paramount. The Company’s first sailing from Florida is scheduled on August 15, 2021 on Norwegian Gem departing from Miami.

“The health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit is our number one priority, today, tomorrow and forever. It’s not a slogan or a tagline, we fiercely mean it and our commitment to these principles is demonstrated by the lengths our Company has gone through to provide the safest possible cruise experience from Florida. We want nothing more than to sail from Miami, the Cruise Capital of the World, and from the other fabulous Florida ports and we welcome today’s ruling that allows us to sail with 100% fully vaccinated guests and crew which we believe is the safest and most prudent way to resume cruise operations amid this global pandemic,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “The public health environment continues to evolve around the globe and our robust science-backed health and safety protocols, with vaccines at its cornerstone, allow us to provide what we believe is the safest vacation experience for people who long to get back to their everyday lives and explore the world once again.”

“We are pleased that Judge Williams saw the facts, the law and the science as we did and granted the Company’s motion for preliminary injunction allowing us to operate cruises from Florida with 100% vaccinated guests and crew,” said Daniel S. Farkas, executive vice president and general counsel of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “While litigation is a strategic tool of last resort, our Company has fought to do what we believe is right and in the best interest of the welfare of our guests, crew and communities we visit in an effort to do our part as responsible corporate citizens to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, further spread of COVID-19 as we gradually relaunch our vessels.”

The swift deployment of vaccines has been the primary vehicle for people to safely get back to their everyday lives while containing the spread of the virus. The Company invested heavily in its comprehensive, multi-layered SailSAFE™ health and safety program with science-backed protocols developed in conjunction with the nation’s top scientific and public health experts. The Company’s policy of 100% vaccination of guests and crew was in place without issue in every port it sails from around the world except for Florida. Despite the ongoing global pandemic and the accelerating spread of the Delta variant, Florida prohibited the Company from requiring vaccine documentation which the Company believed would enable it to resume sailing in the safest way possible.