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

The badge for the Kenai Police Department (Clarion file)
Walmart briefly evacuated after bomb threat

The investigation is ongoing.

Peninsula Clarion file
Merry voices to fill Kenai chamber

Historical society carolling event returns after hiatus

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
State officials urge vaccination as omicron spreads in US

Omicron was first identified as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization on Nov. 26.

Alaska State Troopers logo.
1 hunter dead, another missing after boat hits rough seas off Whittier

The pair were reportedly hunting on Wednesday on Esther Island in Prince William Sound.

Kenai City Council members James Baisden (left) and Deborah Sounart (right) listen as member Teea Winger (center) speaks in support of legislation opposing government COVID-19 mandates, during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, in Kenai.
Kenai council declares opposition to mask mandates

The statement does not change city code or supersede federal law.

Signage indicates that face masks are required for entry to the Soldotna Public Library on March 25, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. The Soldotna City Council voted Wednesday to make mask-wearing optional in city facilities. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Masks recommended, not required in Soldotna city buildings

Council amends measure to make mask-wearing optional

Nick Begich III, seen here in this undated photo, is challenging Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, for his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives saying Alaska needs new energy in Washington D.C. (Courtesy photo / Alaskans for Nick Begich)
Nick Begich III touts fiscal conservatism in US House race

GOP candidate challenges Young’s record

Sockeye salmon. (Photo via Alaska Department of Fish and Game)
Fish and Game seeks comment on 2022 sport fish stocking plan

The Sport Fish Division plans to release approximately 7 million fish into the Alaska water systems over the next five years.

A map shows which parts of the Chugach National Forest are open to motorized winter recreation use for the 2021-2022 season. (Map courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service)
Parts of Chugach National Forest open to snowmachine use

The 2021-2022 winter motorized season will run through April 30.

Most Read