BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - After over a year of navigating rough waters, the cruise industry is slowly getting back on course. The governor's lawsuit finally made some headway. A federal judge sided with Florida against the CDC’s conditional sailing order.
Maritime lawyer Michael Winkleman says the order doesn’t mean much for travelers.
"The order that the judge entered [is] definitely a victory for Governor DeSantis, but practically, I don’t think it ends up having a big material difference in the ultimate resolution or the ultimate goal of getting cruises back," Winkleman said.
This new ruling means the CDC cannot enforce its conditional sail ban against any cruise ship from a Florida port. The CDC has a month to come back to the drawing board with a new proposal.
"The fact that the judge said that this is not even going to be enforced for 30 days - and he is giving the CDC an opportunity to come back - that tells me that the judge recognizes that this is an ever-changing situation and the CDC is going to come back with a new plan," Winkleman said.
Industry expert Stewart Chiron says it’s a step in the right direction.
"It is a good ruling that certainly shows the hope at the end of the rainbow here, but what it means for future sailings, we don’t know," Chiron said.
"I think it is a stepping stone in the wrong direction. Because I think the right direction was what the CDC and what the cruise lines were doing," Winkleman said.
Chiron has a note to passengers: The order does not impact the vaccination requirements.
"My recommendation is for the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. Nothing is changing right now. We don't know the ramifications, we don’t know what will be enacted. Right now, as far as all the plans for all the sailings that have been announced, it is exactly what the cruise lines have laid out and that is what we used as a guidance," Chiron said.