The State of Florida’s ongoing battle with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in regard to cruise industry guidelines has come to a head.
Following heated statements from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis — including referring to the CDC’s “No-Sail Order” as “baseless” — a federal judge has today ruled in favor of the state, and thrown out the CDC’s cruise ship guidelines in Florida.
Per a report from Orlando news affiliate CBS 12:
A Tampa federal judge gave a win to Florida and Governor Ron DeSantis, Friday, tossing out COVID-19 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) cruise ship guidelines, which the State of Florida argued were effectively banning cruises from running.
Judge Steven Merryday granted a preliminary injunction, blocking the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), which mandated that cruise ships implement certain COVID protocols before being allowed to sail.
The judge’s order will go into effect July 18.
It is important to note that, according to CBS 12, the State of Florida’s lawsuit against the CDC regarding its general COVID-19 rules will continue — this ruling specifically pertains to the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order (CSO), which lays out a framework for cruise operators, including Disney Cruise Line, to return to sailing in the United States.
At this time, Disney has a test cruise to the Bahamas scheduled on the Disney Dream out of Port Canaveral this month. These simulated cruises are required by the CSO in order for crew members to familiarize themselves with pandemic-era health and safety protocols.
It is currently unclear if scheduled test cruises from Florida ports will be impacted by this new ruling.
Disney has not currently announced a domestic return to cruising date — though they will be operating “Magic at Sea” staycation cruises for U.K. residents only this summer — but Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek has expressed hope for a fall 2021 return to the high seas.
Presently, all cruises on the Disney Cruise Line fleet — the Disney Dream, the Disney Fantasy, the Disney Magic, and the Disney Wonder — have been suspended through July 2021 at the earliest.
Disney is, however, planning a major return to sailing in 2022, with the cruise operator’s first Triton Class cruise ship, the Disney Wish. The newest ship in the DCL fleet — complete with its reimagined Oceaneer Club, Toy Story Splash Zone, and first-of-its-kind Star Wars Hyperspace Lounge — is slated for her maiden voyage in June 2022.
Many additional 2022 itineraries have also been released for a number of popular destinations, such as Baja, Mexico, the Western Caribbean and Southern Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada, and more.
Disney has yet to comment on today’s cruise industry court ruling in Florida. Visit the official Disney Cruise Line website for the latest sailing itineraries and updates regarding every Disney Cruise Line ship.
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