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Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sun cruise ship is docked at the Port of Jacksonville in March 2020. Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Norwegian Cruise Line this week threatened to pull its ships from ports in Florida after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill prohibiting businesses from requiring customers show proof they have received COVID vaccines, AP reports.

The big picture: Norwegian, which is based in Miami, plans to resume cruises in the Caribbean and Europe this summer and fall with "mandatory vaccination requirements for all guests and crew on all sailings" through the end of October.

  • DeSantis signed the bill on Monday, saying in a statement, "In Florida, your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected and no business or government entity will be able to deny you services based on your decision."
  • The ban was already in effect under an executive order DeSantis signed last month that also prevented state agencies from issuing so-called "vaccine passports."

What they're saying: "It is a classic state-versus-federal-government issue," said Norwegian's CEO, Frank Del Rio, Thursday during the company's quarterly earnings call, per AP.

  • "Lawyers believe that federal law applies and not state law, but I’m not a lawyer. And we hope that this doesn’t become a legal football or a political football," he added.
  • Del Rio also said the the route to resuming U.S. cruises is "a bit rockier and a bit steeper" than expected, adding that the company's plan to restart cruises mid-summer "could be in jeopardy."
  • DeSantis' office did not immediately comment on Del Rio's remarks.

The bottom line: Del Rio concluded that if Norwegian ships can't go to Florida, they could go to countries in the Caribbean. "We certainly hope it doesn't come to that."

Go deeper: CDC guidance says cruise ships won't need to mandate vaccines

Go deeper

Two days into school year, 440 students in a Florida district are quarantined

Nearly 500 students in Palm Beach County, Florida, have been quarantined because of COVID-19 just two days into the school year, the district's superintendent said Thursday.

Why it matters: Superintendent Michael Burke's announcement comes as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has maintained his executive order banning school districts in the state from requiring the use of masks amid criticism and lawsuits.

Rahm Emanuel questioned on murder of Laquan McDonald in confirmation hearing

Rahm Emanuel during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Oct. 20. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke about the murder of Laquan McDonald during his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to become the U.S. ambassador to Japan, saying that "there's not a day or a week that has gone by in the last seven years I haven't thought about this."

Catch up quick: McDonald was a Black teenager who was fatally shot 16 times by Chicago police during Emanuel's tenure as the city's mayor. The 2014 shooting triggered massive protests, both because of its nature and the fact that the officers' body-cam footage was concealed for years.

3 hours ago - World

Biden's ambassador nominee: "China is not an Olympian power"

Nick Burns testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee to serve as ambassador to China delivered a stark assessment of the challenges the U.S. faces in confronting Beijing, but stressed that the rising superpower is "not all-powerful" and the West retains "substantial" advantages.

The big picture: Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, used his confirmation hearing Wednesday to echo the growing bipartisan consensus that China poses "the greatest threat to the security of our country and the democratic world" in the 21st century.