Florida judge allows NCL-Norwegian Cruise Line to require proof of vaccination despite the state ban

   August 9, 2021 ,   Cruise Industry

A federal judge in Florida has issued an order on Sunday, August 9, allowing NCL-Norwegian Cruise Line to require passengers to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID, despite the state's ban prohibiting companies from adopting such measures.

Kathleen Williams, U.S. District Judge of Florida's southern district has ruled that NCL would be "irreparably injured" by the state prohibition, "leaving it no way to ensure that thousands of passengers who will remain in close quarters for days have been vaccinated."

The preliminary decision will remain in effect as the company pursues a permanent ruling, which comes a week before the first scheduled NCL departure in over a year.

Norwegian sued Florida's top health official in July after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law banning companies from requiring COVID vaccination proof. DeSantis said that the law had been aimed at protecting Floridians' "personal choice regarding vaccinations" and that no business or government agency "will be able to deny you services based on your decision."

In a statement, NCL said the order would allow it to operate "in the safest way possible with 100% vaccination of all guests and crew when sailing from Florida ports."