In a preliminary injunction motion, the state of Florida alleged that the CDC order exceeded the agency’s authority and was “arbitrary and capricious” in issuing the conditional navigation order. The state claimed the CDC had failed to recognize the prevalence of vaccines and the effectiveness of Covid-19 mitigation measures.
Accordingly, the American District Central District Florida Judge Steven Merryday ruled Florida had every chance of success in the case. The injunction was in effect until 12:01 a.m. ET on July 18, during which time the CDC was prohibited from applying it to any cruise ship arriving, in or departing from a port of Florida, according to the ordinance. After that, the conditional navigation order became a non-binding “consideration, recommendation or directive”.
The judge gave the CDC until July 2 to propose a more restrictive injunction that allowed the ships to sail, and he ordered the parties to resume mediation.
“The CDC was wrong from the start, and they knew it,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said in a statement. “The CDC and the Biden administration have concocted a plan to sink the cruise industry, hiding behind bureaucratic delays and lawsuits. “
The CDC also released information on cruise ship travel on Friday, recommending people who are not fully vaccinated to avoid cruise travel around the world.
Passengers are eager to get back on the ships, and cruise lines have been travel-ready for months. In April, Carnival Corp. ( reported that its passenger bookings nearly doubled in the three-month period ending February 2021, compared to the previous three-month period. And )Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings ( – which despite its name is an American company – has announced its intention to resume domestic cruises on July 4, with the requirement that all passengers and crew be vaccinated against Covid-19. )
In early June, Celebrity Cruises became the first major cruise line to allow American passengers to sail, more than a year after the industry was completely shut down by the pandemic.
The CDC could not be reached for comment on the judge’s order, and CNN has reached out to cruise lines for comment.
CNN’s Chris Isidore contributed to this report.