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Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Warns Company Could Take Ships Out Of Florida Over Vaccine Proof Ban

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line issued a warning Thursday that the company could jump ship from Florida.

In an earnings call, Frank Del Rio said if Gov. Ron DeSantis insists on blocking businesses from asking customers, in this case cruise passengers, from proving they've been vaccinated or tested negative from COVID, Norwegian will have no choice but to take its ships out of Florida.

"At the end of the day, cruise ships have motors, propellers and rudders, and God forbid we can operate in the state of Florida for whatever reason, then there are other states that we do operate from. And we can operate from the Caribbean for ships that otherwise would've gone to Florida," he said. "We certainly hope that doesn't come to that. Everyone wants to operate out of Florida, it's a very lucrative market, it's close drive market."

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said late Thursday night this could cost South Florida thousands of jobs.

Norwegians CEO also said that because of poor guidance from the CDC, he doesn't think his ships may be able to sail from the U.S. this summer.

"If the CDC wants to go in a different direction, the rest of the industry wants to go – great, we want to go 100%. We want clearance for 100%. And as of today, which is a little over a month since we submitted our proposal to the CDC, we've not yet heard back from them. And that is very disappointing," he said.

CBS4 spoke to the CEO of Carnival Cruises. He's not happy with the guidelines either, but thinks they can make it all work out.

"We still have some concerns about the recommendations, or in our case, that guidelines that make it difficult for us to get guests on board, but we're optimistic. We'll continue to work with the CDC and other agencies and the government and the administration," said Arnold Donald.

The guidelines include operational procedures like testing, passenger interaction and onboard surveillance.

The simulated voyages are set to begin this summer.

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