Major cruise lines ready; Norwegian announces first voyage amidst legal battles with Florida

Norwegian Encore will be the first in the cruise line’s fleet to take off this weekend

ROCKLEDGE, Fla. – Major cruise lines are starting to become more active in the United States as many are either returning from a first voyage this weekend or resuming service.

That means Port Canaveral will start to see more and more activity.

Royal Caribbean International is returning to the seas with a revenued cruise on Sunday.

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Allure of the Seas will be the first of the cruise line’s fleet to depart from Port Canaveral which comes a day after Carnival’s Mardi Gras cruise ship returns from its first voyage this Saturday.

In Seattle, Washington, Norwegian Cruise Line or NCL announced its first voyage with paying passengers in over 16 months.

Norwegian Encore will be the first in the cruise line’s fleet to take off this weekend.

The cruise line is mandating all passengers to be vaccinated which the company says shows its commitment to safety first.

“For the first 30-days in a ship’s operations we’ll keep occupancy no higher than 60-percent or so, the next 30 days we’ll increase that to 80-percent and if everything is working fine beginning on the 61st day we’ll resume full operations,” President of Norwegian Cruise Line Frank Del Rio said.

Requiring passengers to be vaccinated goes against Florida’s ban on vaccine passports which has lead NCL to challenge the State of Florida in the courts this past July.

A decision is expected within the coming days according to company executives.

In the courts, the cruise line states if customers don’t like it they can choose a different cruise service while the State of Florida claims the mandate amounts to discrimination.

“We’re confident in our position, we think it’s the right thing to do and we’ll continue doing everything humanly possible to assure our guests sailing aboard our ships is the safest thing you can be doing,” Del Rio said.

Once a decision is made, people can expect to be setting sail with Norwegian from Port Canaveral as early as November, but in Miami, Norwegian says its Norwegian Gem can set sail as early as Aug 15.

About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.