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Why the court ruling in favor of the CDC doesn't really change anything

20 Jul 2021
Matt Hochberg

You may have read about the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit approved the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) request to delay an injunction against the agency's cruise ship rules.

That decision created a ripple of concern that cruise industry restart plans would be negatively affected, but the reality is the stay of the injunction being granted means things stay the same, rather than change.

While the lawsuit moves onto the appeals process, cruise fans should know that nothing has really changed between when Florida won its lawsuit, when the stay was initially denied, and now with the injunction delayed.

Here is a rundown of what is happening. and why things are staying the same.

What happened

Florida sued the CDC in April as a way to get all of the restrictions placed on the cruise industry since March 2020 to be lifted.

In June, a federal judge ruled that Florida was right and that the CDC had misused its governmental power.

US District Judge Steven Merryday issued a preliminary injunction, which would have overturned the Conditional Sail Order restrictions starting July 18, but the CDC requested to delay the decision.

Judge Merryday denied that request, but then an appellate court panel granted the CDC's appeal to delay the injunction in a 2-1 decision.

Now, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has pledged to continue the fight against the CDC.

"I think that most courts at this point have had their limit with the CDC issuing these dictates without a firm statutory basis," the Florida governor said at a press conference Monday. "So I'm confident that we'd win on the merits at the full 11th Circuit."

"Honestly, I'm confident we'd win at the US Supreme Court," he added.

Why nothing really changes

The news that the CDC won its request to delay the injunction got a lot of people concerned the cruise restart process would be impacted by this ruling, but the reality is the cruise industry has been working with the CDC over the last few months to get back into service.

Even while the courts were deliberating on the authority of the CDC, cruise lines like Royal Caribbean were working under the conditions of the CSO to get approval to sail.

So far two Royal Caribbean cruise ships are back in service from the United States (Freedom of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas), and Odyssey of the Seas is undergoing her test sailing right now.

Another six Royal Caribbean cruise ships have test cruises scheduled between now and the end of August.

Other cruise lines are also working with the CDC right now to get their ships approved via the test cruise program.

In short, the cruise lines have been working under the framework outlined by the CDC that Florida is fighting to get repealed, so its continued existence does not change the status quo related to cruise ship restart plans.

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 expert 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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