The Cunard cruise ship Queen Elizabeth sails through Cook Inlet Thursday, May 16, 2019, for a port call in Anchorage, Alaska. Federal officials say a lawsuit in Florida could block cruise ships from visiting Alaska in summer 2021. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)

The Cunard cruise ship Queen Elizabeth sails through Cook Inlet Thursday, May 16, 2019, for a port call in Anchorage, Alaska. Federal officials say a lawsuit in Florida could block cruise ships from visiting Alaska in summer 2021. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)

CDC: Florida lawsuit imperils summer cruises to Alaska

Alaska estimates that cruising contributes $3 billion a year to the state economy.

By Associated Press

U.S. officials say Florida’s lawsuit against the federal government over conditions for cruise lines to resume sailing could threaten plans to restart cruising in Alaska.

Florida 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.

If Florida wins an injunction blocking the CDC order, it would “end cruising in Alaska for the season,” lawyers for the agency say because the bill pushed by Alaska’s Republican congressional delegation hinges on the CDC order being in effect. Several cruise lines have announced plans to sail to Alaska with vaccinated crew members and passengers starting in a few weeks.

Alaska estimates that cruising contributes $3 billion a year to the state economy. Alaska and Texas, another state with a sizeable cruising industry, sided with Florida early in the case.

Alaska’s attorney general’s office complained in a court filing this week about the CDC’s “constantly-morphing orders, restrictions and guidance” for large cruise ships.

Federal lawyers also 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 reference to concern among cruise lines that a state law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis that would prohibit the companies from requiring that passengers be 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.

More in News

Alaska House Speaker Louise Stutes, center, along with leaders of the House majority coalition, Rep. Bryce Edgmon, left and Rep. Kelly Merrickspeaks, right, speak to reporters on the final day of a special legislative session in Juneau, Alaska Friday, June 18, 2021. The special legislative session limped toward a bitter end Friday, with Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy and House majority leaders sharply disagreeing over the adequacy of the budget passed by lawmakers earlier this week. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
Special session limps toward its end, another looms

Gov. Mike Dunleavy and House majority leaders sharply disagreed on the adequacy of the budget passed by lawmakers.

Brent Hibbert (left) presents Tim Dillon with a commending resolution on Tuesday in Soldotna. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
KPEDD honored with assembly resolution

The resolution praised, among other things, KPEDD’s work in helping distribute federal COVID-19 relief funds.

The Kenai Public Dock is seen on Friday, June 18, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai dock repairs substantially complete

The dock, which was built in 1986, sustained damage from multiple earthquakes, including in November of 2018.

Screenshot 
A recently released map by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration shows the vast areas of low data speeds and access by broadband users across Alaska and the rest of the U.S.
White House laying groundwork for improved internet infrastructure

In Alaska, providers are looking at their own improvments to access.

Kate Cox, 12, testifies before the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Council, public voice support for Triumvirate land donation

The land is located near Daubenspeck Park by the Kenai Walmart.

Part of the hose line laid around the perimeter of the 102-acre Loon Lake Fire to help firefighters extinguish any hot spots is seen on Thursday, June 17, 2021 on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. (Bryan Quimby/Gannett Glacier Fire Crew)
Loon Lake Fire reaches 100% containment

The 102-acre fire was first reported on the evening of June 12 and is said to have been caused by lightning.

A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to the 25th Fighter Squadron taxi during exercise Red Flag-Alaska 21-02 at Eielson Air Force Base on June 14. 
Tech. Sgt. Peter Thompson / U.S. Air Force
Air Force kicks off major multinational exercise in Alaska

More than 100 aircraft from three countries will be involved.

Ron Gillham, who represents District 30 in the Alaska House of Representatives, is seen here in this undated photo. (Courtesy Ron Gillham)
Gillham files intent to run in 2022 primary

Gillham did not indicate the office he plans to run for.

Most Read