The ban on cruise ships in Key West gave the impression to be down and out, however latest developments appear to place a brand new spin on a scenario forcing cruise strains to look elsewhere. Solely just lately, Superstar Cruises, Virgin Voyages, and MSC Cruises have modified itineraries to exclude Key West.
Carnival Cruise Line nonetheless has cruises to Key West on the itineraries for 3 ships in January, and extra after that, though a letter from ships brokers appears to counsel Carnival has cancelled these calls.
Regardless of the state of Florida declaring the November 2020 referendum banning ships from Key West illegal, the Mayor of town then instructed an ordinance proscribing cruise ships. With the problem now below mediation, there isn’t any saying whether or not cruise ships will return to Key West.
In November of 2020, the folks of Key West voted for a referendum that restricted cruise ship site visitors for practically 95% of the ships visiting the world. This referendum meant cruise ships weren’t welcome in Key West.
Nonetheless, on July 1 of 2021, Governor DeSantis signed a brand new legislation prohibiting municipalities from regulating marine commerce by a referendum. At this level, there was no legislation anymore that banned cruise ships from docking at one of many three accessible docks within the metropolis, neither the privately owned Pier B nor the Mallory and Outer Mole docks.
Up so far, the problem had been easy. Till metropolis commissioners stepped in and mentioned they wished to discover a strategy to implement the voters’ will by an ordinance proscribing cruise ships.
The legislation carried out by the Governor bans port regulation by referendum, but town commissioners do nonetheless have the authority to control the city-run docks of Mallory and Outer Mole; nevertheless, the Pier B dock is a wholly totally different story. Up to now, the ordinance has not been handed as town might want to discover a lawyer prepared to draft one thing that can inadvertently trigger some vital lawsuits.
Pier B is privately owned by the Pier B Improvement Company, owned once more by Mark Walsh. Town of Key West owns the Mallory Sq. dock. Town leases the Outer Mole Pier from the U.S. Navy. Whereas the ordinance might embody Pier B and ships docking right here, the query is whether or not town desires to go there.
There’s a perpetual contract between the possession of Pier B and the Metropolis of Key West. Initially, each events would want to agree to finish that contract with out it being a breach of contract. If town passes the ordinance with out an settlement with the house owners of Pier, it is going to seemingly result in lawsuits:
Commissioner Billy Wardlow: “I do know we are able to do one thing (to control ships) at Mallory Pier and the Outer Mole, however Pier B being non-public property is totally different. I wouldn’t need somebody telling me what I can do with my property.”
A letter from ship’s brokers Caribe Nautical ships’ brokers make clear what’s subsequent for Key West. The agent particulars conversations between cruise strains and metropolis officers, saying town successfully bans cruise ships regardless of the dearth of a signed ordinance and goes towards Florida legislation. Throughout a Zoom name, Carnival executives have been advised that no port agreements could be thought-about if ships didn’t adjust to the ship limits coated within the now unlawful 2020 referendum:
“Two conferences between Metropolis officers and cruise line executives resulted in instant cancellations of long-established cruise ship berth reservations: The primary was a Zoom assembly between Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) executives, the Metropolis Supervisor, the Port Director and the Metropolis authorized division. The Carnival executives have been emphatically advised that no MOA could be thought-about except it included the ship dimension restrictions mirrored within the November 2020 referenda.”
Though the Port Agreements below the CDC’s Conditional Sail Order aren’t necessary within the state of Florida, it meant that Carnival cruise line calls have been canceled instantly:
“As a result of the Metropolis refused their MOAS with out the ship restrictions included, CCL and Holland America Line (a Carnival firm) notified us they have been cancelling their many ship calls into Key West.”
It have to be mentioned that Carnival Cruise Line has not confirmed this assertion from the ship’s brokers in Key West for its upcoming calls onboard Carnival Conquest, Carnival Dawn, and Carnival Magic in January of subsequent yr.
Additionally Learn: Issues to Do in Key West, Florida for Cruise Guests
Whether or not cruise ships are unlawful or not, it does appear that cruise strains are avoiding Key West. The potential for the ordinances being handed in Key West causes uncertainty for planning cruises. In line with studies from Key West, the problem is now below dialogue once more between representatives from Safer Cleaner Ships, Pier B and Caribe Nautical ships’ brokers and town officers.