By Ted Scouten

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As cruise ships dock with no passengers in the Cruise Capital of the world, port workers were thrilled when they got news that the CDC set guidelines for sailing again.

Delandrius Jackson was eager to get back to working with cruise ships and passengers, making life easier for the family.

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“It was like 1 big party when we heard the CDC was letting us go back out and go on with our lives and making a living for our family,” he said. “Then the news from the governor, it just killed us.”

The CDC said ships can set sail again with 98 percent of the crew vaccinated and 95 percent of passengers or conduct test cruises first. But Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that bans anyone from asking for proof of Covid 19 vaccination. “This is a high stakes game of chicken that is being played,” exclaimed Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

She’s growing more concerned with the governor’s new rule especially after the CEO of Norwegian Cruise Lines Frank Del Rio threatened to sail away.

He said in part, if “God forbid we can’t 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.”

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“The public is waiting,” Mayor Levine Cava said. “They will fly to other places to take cruises if we fail them if we let this industry down if we let our workforce down.”

Broward Mayor Steve Geller is urging the governor to reconsider his ban on Vaccine Passports.

“At this point, I wonder if he’s considering suing himself. If he’s the obstacle to reopening,” Mayor Geller asked.

He argued livelihoods and lots of money are at stake if cruise ships leave Port Everglades and Port Miami. “I urge the governor to rescind his position on no vaccine passports, which I hate that phrase. If he won’t do that I urge him to at least make an exception for the cruise industry,” Mayor Geller said.

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Delandrius hopes something will give to get ships sailing again — and an anxious workforce back on the job. “I’m hoping just to get back out and go on with our lives, people to come back and start cruising from South Florida. We’re the cruise capital of the world and we hope to continue being cruise capital of the world,” he said.

Ted Scouten