MIAMI — Two of the world's largest cruise ships have just been approved for test cruises departing from Florida, according to Royal Caribbean.
The cruise line tweeted Thursday its ships Allure and Symphony of the Seas were the latest to be approved for simulation cruises.
According to Royal Caribbean, the sailings depart July 27 and Aug. 1. The cruise line confirms to 10 Tampa Bay the Allure will set sail from Port Canaveral and the Symphony of the Seas will depart from Port Miami.
At the end of May, the CDC gave Royal Caribbean approval to begin simulated cruises in late June using volunteer passengers sailing from Port Miami. The Miami Herald was first to report Royal Caribbean, which is based in Miami, had become the first cruise line to get the green light on its proposal, allowing it to move into the testing phase.
Back in March, Royal Caribbean announced only fully vaccinated adult passengers would be allowed onboard its ships. The company made the announcement after saying it would resume sailing in the Bahamas in June.
Florida has sued the Biden administration to throw out requirements, called a conditional sailing order, that were imposed on cruise lines before they can sail in U.S. water for the first time since March 2020.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that Congress effectively ratified the conditional sailing order when it passed a law last month to let large cruise ships resume trips from Washington state to Alaska this summer.
Federal lawyers said in a filing this week that granting Florida’s wish to block the CDC’s regulation of the cruising restart would undermine public confidence in cruising, “particularly in the state of Florida, which is publicly battling with the industry over its own laws.”
That was a referencing a state law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis that would prohibit businesses from requiring proof passengers are vaccinated against COVID-19.
The federal judge overseeing Florida’s lawsuit against the Biden administration ordered both sides into mediation, which has failed to end the standoff.
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