Royal Caribbean vaccinates crew members in effort to get cruises to set sail by this summer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Royal Caribbean vaccinated crew members at Port Canaveral on Wednesday in an effort to get cruises to set sail by this summer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a list of recommendations and requirements for cruise ships.

The agency said risks can’t be eliminated but would like to reduce the risk of COVID-19 by requiring 98% of cruise staff and 95% of passengers to be vaccinated, which is why Royal Caribbean is trying to get workers vaccinated.

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The state of Florida is suing the CDC over the rules.

Canaveral Port Authority’s CEO Capt. John Murray said the regulations go too far.

“Nothing in this country that’s getting regulated with those types of conditions except the cruise industry,’' he said. “In my view only, it’s ridiculous.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis even signed a bill preventing businesses from requiring customers and employees to be vaccinated.

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Norwegian Cruise Lines threatened to leave the state over the ban.

“At the end of the day, we have the same goal in mind, to start cruising safely for our guests in an excellent way,” said Harry Sommer, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line.

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“Our state policy is our state policy,” DeSantis said. “If one of the smaller ones somehow don’t want to do that, that niche will get filled in Florida.”

Royal Caribbean wants to vaccinate over 200 people Wednesday, with plans to vaccinate about 1,500 employees by the end of the week.

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Cierra Putman

Cierra Putman, WFTV.com

Cierra Putman flew south to join Eyewitness News in July 2016.