U.S. Senators introduce bill to allow cruise lines to restart

16 Sep 2020
Matt Hochberg

Two United States Senators introduced a new bill that aims to reopen the cruise industry to start sailing again.

Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio announced new legislation known as the Set Sail Safely Act.

The bill creates a Maritime Task Force focused on the health, safety, security, & logistical changes to allow cruise lines & ports to resume operations. 

At its heart, the Set Sail Safely Act would do two basic things:

  • Require the proper federal agencies, led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to work together with input from private sector stakeholders to develop a plan for the safe resumption of cruise line operations.
  • Create a timeline for meetings of the Task Force, recommendations, and implementation of the Task Force’s recommendations.

The Maritime Task Force would include representatives from several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Coast Guard, Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation, Department of State and the Federal Maritime Commission.

Private Sector stakeholders would include representatives from the passenger cruise line industry, U.S. ports, commercial fishermen, small businesses and health professionals.

Senator Scott emphasized this new law will ensure developing the proper guidelines for cruises to resume, "this legislation will support the development of guidelines needed to ensure the safe resumption of our cruise lines and port operations."

Senator Rubio echoed his colleague's support of the bill by saying he believes this is part of the path to recovery, "I am proud to join Senator Scott in introducing legislation that will provide a roadmap for cruise lines and port authorities to safely resume operations, allowing our valuable tourism economy, and the people it employs, to begin to recover."

Lots of support already

The legislation has the backing of many organizations, including the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

CLIA Global Chair (and former Royal Caribbean International President) Adam Goldstein commented on the new proposal, "The cruise industry is an important economic contributor in the United States, supporting nearly half a million U.S. jobs, and over 150,000 in Florida alone, prior to the pandemic. The Senators’ bill draws much needed attention to the importance of strategic dialogue between appropriate federal agencies and a broad group of public and private sector stakeholders to safely advance a resumption of cruising in the U.S. that mirrors the gradual and successful restart of cruise operations in Europe."

A number of other high ranking industry officials have already voiced their support for the bill, including:

  • PortMiami Director & CEO Juan M. Kuryla
  • Miami-Dade Tourism and the Ports Committee Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa,
  • Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez
  • Florida Ports Council President and CEO Doug Wheeler
  • American Association of Port Authorities President and CEO Christopher J. Connor

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost experts on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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