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CDC appeals DeSantis lawsuit; U.S. court upholds cruise requirements for now

July 18, 2021
3 min read
CDC appeals DeSantis lawsuit; U.S. court upholds cruise requirements for now
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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requirements that have allowed some cruise ships to resume sailings from the United States will remain in place for now, pending the results of an appeal filed by the CDC, a U.S. appellate court says.

July 17 motion of stay granted (Screenshot courtesy of PACER)

In a 2-to-1 vote Saturday, the U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit granted a stay that will, at least temporarily, allow the CDC to continue requiring cruise lines to operate from Florida under the agency's Framework for Conditional Sailing Order restrictions.

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The order, which replaced the CDC's No-Sail Order in late 2020, requires vessels departing from the U.S. to sail with at least 95% of passengers fully vaccinated. Lines not committing to reaching that threshold must submit to test sailings that allow CDC officials to walk through protocols with officers and crew on each individual ship before it's allowed to sail.

In April, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sued the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in an effort to have the conditional sailing order removed and jumpstart cruise industry operations. In June, District Judge Steven D. Merryday, who presides over the Middle District of Florida, ruled in favor of Florida, granting DeSantis a win and slapping the CDC with an injunction, effective July 18.

June 18 injunction granted (Screenshot courtesy of PACER)

On July 6, 12 days before the conditional sailing order was set to roll back under Merryday's ruling, the CDC and HHS filed an appeal and requested a motion to stay. The U.S. appellate court's granting of the stay essentially freezes rollback of the CDC's cruise requirements until the appeal can be fully heard.

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It's important to note that this does not affect the ability of currently operating cruise ships to continue sailing, nor does it prevent scheduled test voyages from taking place. What it does mean is that regulations -- such as testing and mask wearing -- on certain ships will continue to remain in place, pre-cruise and onboard, until either the CDC changes its mind or loses the appeal.

Cruise lines that are sailing at least 95% vaccinated, including Carnival and Celebrity, are not requiring vaccinated passengers to wear masks onboard anyway, and on sailings from Florida, they aren't currently allowed to ask for vaccine verification.

Additionally, Royal Caribbean, which has completed test sailings in order to sail with a larger number of unvaccinated passengers, has created "vaccinated only" spaces where inoculated cruisers are able to remove their masks indoors.

Official court documents for the stay say that one judge dissented, and opinions will follow.

Featured image by AFP via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023