By Steven "Goldie" Goldstein

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After 15 months of ships being docked, the cruise industry is back.

Ships are set to sail again, but, who will be allowed onboard and what role will Florida play are still legal questions that need to be answered.

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Governor Ron DeSantis weighed in with somewhat of a warning.

“People are gonna cruise either way. The question is are they going to be doing it in Florida, which is the number one place to do it in the world, or are they going to be doing it in the Bahamas and other locations.”

DeSantis sued the CDC to allow US-based cruises in the spring. Then last month, he signed an executive order prohibiting businesses from requiring vaccinations, a key CDC recommendation for sailing.

DeSantis is levying a $5,000 fine per violation. So, one cruise ship could potentially incur millions of dollars in penalties.

On Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott followed Florida’s lead. Even though Carnival had announced a vaccinated-only cruise from Galveston, Texas, that same day.

“No business or government entity can require a person to provide a vaccine passport or any vaccine information as a condition of receiving any service or entering any place.”

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Before COVID, more than $10 billion in direct spending was generated by the cruise industry in Texas and Florida.

That’s nearly half of all annual cruise spending in the US.

Cruise lines are looking to earn at least some of that money back.

Attorney Michael Winkleman represents cruise passengers and staff in legal disputes.

“Neither of these governors are members of the CDC, neither they’re operating a cruise line. I think they essentially need to keep out of this and let the CDC and the cruise lines continue to work together so that people can get back to cruising safely.”

That lawsuit against the CDC will be decided by a Central Florida federal judge.

The timetable for a decision is unknown.

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Meanwhile, a recent Harris poll found 60 percent of people support mandatory vaccines on cruise ships, with only 23 percent opposed.

Steven "Goldie" Goldstein