Florida’s recent decision to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that the state’s cruise ship restrictions are unconstitutional is a victory for tourism and the economy. The state’s rules limit the size of cruise ships coming from ports in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, and were passed in 2012. Those regulations sharply reduced the number of cruise ships visiting the ports. The state’s appeal arises amid a growing debate over the safety of commercial vessels, which have been involved in at least four incidents in Florida since 2009. Cruise lines have argued that the regulations unfairly target them by targeting all ships of a certain size.

The state of Florida has been awarded a victory after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled against the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) restrictions on cruise ships flying into state waters. The CDC is not happy with this development, and has filed a stay with the Supreme Court in order to review the ruling.

The C.D.C. is something of a mystery organization, shrouded in secrecy and constantly under attack for moving too slowly in saving lives. That is, until now, when a federal appeals court struck down a restriction that prevented it from getting involved in certain cases. The restriction in question, which was put in place after the S.S. Norway was struck by a rogue wave in 1995, was that the C.D.C. would not get involved in emergencies involving ships more than 10 miles from shore.. Read more about florida cruise lawsuit update and let us know what you think.

The state of Florida has won the latest round in its lawsuit against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (CDC).

As a consequence, cruise companies leaving from Florida ports will no longer be required to follow the COVID-19 rules and regulations set out by the state health department. 

CDC headquarters

(Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

In April, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis launched a lawsuit against the CDC, claiming it was needlessly delaying the return of animals and costing the state money and employment via overreach, arbitrary rule-making, and delayed advice.

Cruise ships, according to the CDC, may contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States and ports of call if they are not regulated.

It defended its health and safety policies and procedures, claiming that they were created in cooperation with cruise lines.

READ MORE: Royal Caribbean CEO Sees Sunny Days Ahead After Dark Period

In June, U.S. District Court Judge Steven Merryday decided in Florida’s favor, issuing a preliminary injunction that would render the CDC’s ‘Conditional Sailing Order’ (CSO) – the document that outlines how, when, and under what limitations cruise ships may resume operation — null and void.

Carnival Horizon Return Trip Report

The CDC requested a stay of the judgment while the appeal was being processed, but Merryday flatly refused.

Merryday’s injunction was placed on hold last week by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The CDC’s attorneys, however, “failed to establish an entitlement to a stay pending appeal,” the court said late Friday. 

The judgment came only days after Florida filed an emergency appeal with the United States Supreme Court, indicating that it was ready to take the battle to the highest court in the land.

READ MORE: Carnival joins Royal Caribbean in requiring unvaccinated passengers to purchase insurance.

Cruise companies must follow a long list of health and safety procedures mandated by the CDC, including establishing up COVID testing laboratories and isolation rooms, conducting test trips without paying passengers, implementing social distance and face-covering requirements, and more.

Many of these measures have already been taken by cruise lines, who have the most to gain from a safe resumption to service after facing harsh criticism at the start of the epidemic.

While certain CDC rules have obviously irritated cruise companies, none of them signed on as parties to the State of Florida case.

Florida claims that the travel and hospitality industry is being singled out for onerous regulations that do not apply to other companies in the industry. 


In a court filing, the state’s attorneys said, “The CDC’s injunction is clearly outside its jurisdiction.” The federal legislation that gives the CDC authority to impose conventional quarantine measures “does not allow the agency to reinvent the whole cruise ship business,” according to the CDC.

In the midst of a worldwide pandemic that includes multiple fatal infections aboard cruise ships, the CDC insists that its Conditional Sailing Order “represents the most effective method of continuing to safeguard the public’s health.” 

READ MORE: Carnival Announces That More Than Half of Its Cruise Ship Fleet Will Be Ready to Sail by Fall

According to government attorneys, “these experiences showed that cruise ships are particularly adapted to transmit COVID-19, presumably owing to their close quarters for passengers and staff for extended periods of time.”

The CDC responded to the recent appeals court decision by saying that, although it can’t compel cruise ships to follow the CSO, it would continue to enforce its own mask regulations on cruise ships in Florida.

freedom of the seas cococay

The Freedom of the Seas docked at CocoCay’s Perfect Day (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

In addition, the CDC said late Friday that all cruise ships operating in Florida would continue to be required to report “individual instances of sickness or death, as well as ship inspections and sanitary steps to prevent the entry, transfer, or spread of communicable diseases.” 

With cruise companies far into the restart process, it’s unclear how the recent court ruling would affect the pace with which ships are returned to service or the onboard experience.

Most cruise lines have said that they want the overwhelming majority of passengers to be vaccinated and that they would adhere to strict health and safety standards.

READ NEXT: Cruising Is Back, And Petty Complaints Are Too 

The cruise industry has been hopping up and down over a recent ruling by a U.S. appeals court that struck down the Obama administration’s restrictions on the number of passengers who can fly on a U.S.-flagged cruise ship. The court’s decision overturns a U.S. district court’s ruling that upheld the restrictions on the trade group International Cruise Line Holdings.. Read more about cdc cruise guidelines and let us know what you think.

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