Cruise lines have a work-around for Florida's vaccine passport ban, but it will mean unvaccinated passengers will not be treated the same on ships sailing out of Florida
Unvaccinated travelers on Carnival and Royal Caribbean will be required to purchase travel insurance, pay for their COVID-19 testing, and still be barred from some areas of the ship, Business Insider reported.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an April executive order banning vaccine passports and businesses from requiring proof of vaccinations and the state has since passed a law following that guidance.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) has sued Florida's surgeon general over the law and requested an injunction U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. CEO Frank Del Rio has threatened to pull its Florida-based sailings if it cannot require passengers to be vaccinated.
Other cruise lines have offered the workaround, but making it more costly for unvaccinated travelers, according to the report.
Royal Caribbean is going to require proof of travel insurance for those 12 and older starting Aug. 1. Travelers must have a minimum of $25,000 in medical expense coverage and $50,000 for "quarantine and medical evacuation related to a positive COVID-19 test result" per person, BI reported.
Also, COVID-19 testing will be charged by a fee of $136 or $178 depending on the duration of the trip, which will not be charged to vaccinated travelers.
Carnival, beginning July 31, is requiring proof of travel insurance of a minimum of $10,000 in medical expenses and $30,000 in "emergency medical evacuation and without COVID-19 exclusions," and will charge $150 for COVID-19 tests and other "health screening measures," according to BI.
Carnival will restrict passengers without proof of the COVID-19 vaccine from boarding and will not offer a refund, per the report.
"Consistent with the practices of other lines who are also restarting their operations, and in the best interests of our guests who are unvaccinated, this is important coverage to have should they encounter a medical situation during their cruise," Carnival spokesperson Vance Gulliksen told USA Today.
Also, unvaccinated passengers are barred from using sauna or the thermal suite and unvaccinated teenagers cannot participate in the youth camp program, according to Carnival's website.
Generally, although rules differ on some Royal Caribbean ships, casinos and select restaurants, bars, lounges, activities will be reserved for vaccinated passengers, according to its website.
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