By Ted Scouten

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Norwegian Cruise Lines is the latest to announce new sail dates from PortMiami after being shut down for 15 months.

Stewart Chiron is known as “the Cruise Guy.” He’s a Miami-based cruise expert and travel agent.

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“The science is supporting the cruise industry to resume operations and now we’re actually seeing light at the tunnel,” he said. “We’re seeing cruise lines making announcements and we can actually start planning summer vacations,” Chiron said.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has been pushing to get the industry going again. “I’m so excited,” Mayor Levine Cava said. “All of our planning, all of our hard work is coming to fruition!”

She’s thrilled to hear some dates are set for cruises. “Starting in July, that will be our best hope for the beginning and through the fall. Hopefully, we will get all of our major cruise lines out into the ocean,” she said.

So far Carnival recently announced The Horizon will set sail on July 4th.

The Norwegian Joy is scheduled to cruise from Port Miami on Oct, 19th. The Encore and Pearl will follow in November and December.

That first Norwegian cruise will require that passengers get vaccinated.

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To avoid vaccination requirements the CDC is allowing ships to do test voyages.

Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas is planning one in June. “They would like to see if they can follow the protocols and have no covid cases on board to show their protocols are safe,” Chiron said.

There’s been a lot of confusion about the vaccination requirement after Governor DeSantis and the legislature banned companies from requiring proof.

“I think this wrinkle Gov. DeSantis has thrown in, not allowing companies to require covid vaccination proof, is foolish, said Maritime Attorney Michael Winkleman. He believes it’s dangerous to set sail without vaccinated passengers and crew.

“I don’t think Governor DeSantis will seek to actually enforce it, if and when cruise lines begin sailing and do require proof of vaccination. I think this is more of a political stunt than actual policy consideration,” he said.

Does all of this sound confusing? It is.

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Chiron has some advice. “It may sound confusing now, but once people focus on specifically what they’re looking for, the cruise lines will provide them the most up-to-date information. It could change over the course of the next 3-4 months,” he said.

Ted Scouten