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Carnival Cruise Line passengers must be fully vaccinated before boarding cruises in Texas – despite state guidelines barring "vaccine passports."
On July 3, the company's Carnival Vista ship will set sail from Texas' Port of Galveston followed by its Carnival Breeze ship on July 15.
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In accordance with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) latest guidance, guests on both of these ships must show proof that it's been at least 14 days since their final recommended dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
"The current CDC requirements for cruising with a guest base that is unvaccinated will make it very difficult to deliver the experience our guests expect, especially given the large number of families with younger children who sail with us," Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy, said. "As a result, our alternative is to operate our ships from the U.S. during the month of July with vaccinated guests."
The move goes against legislation signed by Gov. Greg Abbott Monday prohibiting any business or government entity from requiring vaccine passports or any vaccine information.
"Texans should have the freedom to go where they want without any limits, restrictions, or requirements," Abbott tweeted.
Regardless, Carnival isn't budging on its plans.
CARNIVAL GETS CDC APPROVAL FOR FLORIDA, TEXAS CRUISES THIS SUMMER
In fact, after evaluating the legislation, the cruise company discovered that "the law provides exceptions for when a business is implementing COVID protocols in accordance with federal law," Carnival spokesperson Vance Gulliksen told FOX Business.
In Carnival's case, it "plans to comply with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s guidelines."
According to the CDC, at least 95% of crew and 95% of passengers need to be fully vaccinated, although the agency acknowledges "that it is not possible for cruising to be a zero-risk activity for the spread of COVID-19."
Carnival is also restarting operations from Port Miami and Port Canaveral in Florida, where there are similar laws in place prohibiting businesses from requiring people to show proof they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
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In an executive order, signed in April, Gov. Ron DeSantis argued that "vaccination passports reduce individual freedom and will harm patient privacy" and that they would "create two classes of citizens based on vaccination."
Carnival noted that it is still working with the state and the CDC and plans to provide an update on the protocols specific for ships leaving from Florida ports but expects to have plans finalized by Friday.
Duffy noted, however, that support from DeSantis and Abbott, as well as other state officials, in making vaccinations available to cruise staff "has expedited the restart process."
The other ship that's slated for a July restart is the Carnival Horizon from Miami.
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