Cruise lines want to vaccinate thousands of crew members at the soonest possible time. By successfully vaccinating their crew, cruise lines can skip simulated voyages. Cruises can sail right away if 98% of their crew and 95% of their passengers are fully vaccinated.
Royal Caribbean announced that 1,300 of its crew members were vaccinated at Port Miami in a week. The ports are just as excited as cruise lines to get their operations back. Port Miami communications director Andria Cristina Muniz-Amador said that “we will continue these efforts until we’re able to restart cruises”. Once the crew members are vaccinated, cruise lines can start training them regarding the new set of COVID safety protocols and practices.
Simulated Voyages If Failing to Vaccinate Thousands of Crew Members
If cruise lines can’t meet the high vaccination percentage set by the health agency, they can still go for simulated voyages. A set of volunteer passengers will go on simulated voyages to demonstrate the new protocols.
The cruise lines together with states and lawmakers pressured the CDC to let the cruise industry operate in July. Since the CDC released its no-sail order and eventually its conditional sailing order in October, the industry was at a standstill. Port Canaveral, for instance, lost $90 million in 2020.
It reached a point where Florida along with Alaska sued the federal government. Now that CDC allowed the industry to sail again by July, Florida is in a tough spot. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis banned businesses from asking employees and customers about their vaccination status. De Santis announced during the bill signing event that “your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected”. The new Florida law comes into effect on July 1. It means that there is a chance that cruise lines may not get to check the vaccination status of the crew and passengers.
Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Frank Del Rio already announced that if the state won’t perform vaccine verifications, they will have no choice but to operate elsewhere.