Gov. DeSantis calls on CDC to lift orders banning international cruises

click to enlarge Gov. DeSantis calls on CDC to lift orders banning international cruises
Photo via Carnival Cruise Line/Facebook

In spite of the fact that they've added surfing pools and waterslides, the rapid spread of sickness aboard seafaring vessels hasn't changed much since the days of Jack Aubrey.

Cruises are floating disease vectors at the best of times. Cramming people from all over the world onto a ship for days or weeks at a time is a great way to catch some old-timey, downright Biblical ailments. The pandemic put a stop to this, with the CDC issuing no-sail orders and stopping Florida's massive cruise ship industry overnight. Now that the vaccine rollout has begun in earnest throughout the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis wants the government to let people get seasick and otherwise again.

Following a meeting in Port Canaveral with cruise industry representatives on March 26, DeSantis called on the CDC to let Floridian cruises set sail.

DeSantis felt that the standing order that runs through Nov. 1 is far too long to wait.

"Floridians who rely on our cruise industry to provide for themselves and their families cannot wait until November 1 to get back to work," he wrote. "The federal government should lift the lockdown and allow cruises to sail immediately."

DeSantis used the opportunity to score points on GOP bugbears like big government and the inability of corporations to force their low-wage workers back to their jobs.

“If there is one thing we’ve learned over the past year, it’s that lockdowns don’t work, and Floridians deserve the right to earn a living,” said Governor DeSantis. “The cruise industry is essential to our state’s economy and keeping it shut down until November would be devastating to the men and women who rely on the cruise lines to provide for themselves and their families. I urge the CDC to immediately rescind this baseless no-sail order to allow Floridians in this industry to get back to work.”

At least one Floridian cruise has set sail in recent months. American Cruise Lines keeps close to shore and sails from Florida's Amelia Island up to Charleston. The American-flagged and American-crewed ship doesn't stop off in any international ports, and therefore is not subject to the order that halted Florida's Caribbean-bound cruises. At the same time, cruise lines are amping up their health and safety measures, knowing that they will need to win back a skeptical public once they are finally given the go-ahead to sail internationally.

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