Canada extends cruise ship ban; Alaska tourism will take a hit

(CNN) — Individuals who have been hoping to cruise the northern waters of North America this summer season will have to put their travel goals in dry dock for now.
Due to the worsening Covid-19 pandemic, Canada has prolonged its cruise ship ban till February 2022. That impacts widespread voyages in Canada, together with the St. Lawrence River and Maritime Provinces on the Atlantic aspect to British Columbia alongside the Pacific Coast.

However the ban extension can be going to hit Alaska and even Seattle, Washington, exhausting by a mixture of geographical proximity and US maritime guidelines.

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What Canada is doing — and why

Big ship cruises to romantic Quebec City on the St. Lawrence River will have to wait for now.

Massive ship cruises to romantic Quebec Metropolis on the St. Lawrence River will have to attend for now.


On Thursday, Canadian Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra announced the interim orders that ban pleasure craft in its Arctic waters and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters till February 28, 2022.

The federal government mentioned “passenger vessels carrying greater than 12 persons are nonetheless prohibited from coming into Arctic coastal waters, together with Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, and the Labrador Coast. … Pleasure craft utilized by native Arctic residents will not be affected by these measures.”

However the greater trip influence will be for people who benefit from the massive cruise ship expertise. Cruise ships that ferry greater than 100 passengers will nonetheless be prohibited from working in Canadian waters.

It is notable that there isn’t any ban on “smaller cruise ships licensed to hold 100 or fewer folks.”

“As Canadians proceed to do their half to cut back the unfold of Covid-19, our authorities continues to work exhausting to make sure Canada’s transportation system stays secure,” Alghabra mentioned within the authorities’s assertion. “Short-term prohibitions to cruise vessels and pleasure craft are important to proceed to guard essentially the most weak amongst our communities.”

If the pandemic state of affairs “sufficiently improves,” Alghabra might rescind orders sooner than February 2022.

How this impacts US tourism

Due to geographical proximity, Alaska and Seattle are inexorably tied to their worldwide neighbor. Routes that includes ports equivalent to Seattle, Victoria (Canada), Sitka, Juneau and Glacier Bay have been highly regarded for many years.

But it surely’s not simply geography that will damage the US cruise trade. It is the way in which maritime regulation works that offers the ban its sting for America, too.

The Passenger Vessel Services Act permits solely vessels flying a US flag to move passengers instantly from one US port to a different. All others should make a cease at a overseas port.

For example, Carnival has most of its ships registered in Panama. And whereas Holland America’s headquarters are in Seattle, its ships carry the flag of the Netherlands.

So except it’s US-registered, a cruise ship that departs from Seattle for a journey to Alaska and again should first name at a Canadian port. Apart from now, it may possibly’t.

The response

Stunning Glacier Bay, Alaska, will be out of reach for many tourists unless Canada is able to rescind an extension of its cruise ship ban.

Beautiful Glacier Bay, Alaska, will be out of attain for a lot of vacationers except Canada is ready to rescind an extension of its cruise ship ban.


The information is a blow to Alaska tourism, which remains to be reeling from 2020.

“Regardless of who you speak to, it was a beautiful morning,” Julie Saupe, president and CEO of Go to Anchorage, told the Anchorage Daily News, the most important newspaper in Alaska.

“The extension of the ‘no-sail’ order in Canadian waters is more likely to have giant, detrimental implications for Alaska visitation within the coming summer season,” Saupe mentioned in a written assertion. She mentioned cruises make up about 40% to 50% of in a single day leisure visits to Alaska’s largest metropolis in the summertime.

The Canadian announcement has a direct effect on Seattle's tourist economy.

The Canadian announcement has a direct impact on Seattle’s vacationer financial system.


And CNN affiliate KIRO reported the fallout is being felt in Washington state’s largest metropolis.

“Every homeported vessel brings in over $4 million to the regional financial system, $14.5 million in statewide taxes, and generates practically one-billion {dollars} in enterprise exercise over the entire season,” Port of Seattle spokesman Peter McGraw mentioned in assertion.

“We additionally hear from port cities in Alaska that dropping one other 12 months of income might be cataclysmic. We urge our federal leaders to contemplate aid for all communities impacted by the declines in journey and tourism.”

Waiting for 2022

In the meantime, cruise traces do appear to be optimistic for 2022 even when 2021 seems to be a bust.

For example, Holland America is providing a seven-day, Seattle-to-Alaska cruise with a cease in Victoria, Canada, in June 2022.
And Princess has a Could 2022 route departing Seattle to Alaska — once more with the required Canadian cease — beginning at $719.

Prime picture: Pedestrians stroll by an empty cruise ship port in Juneau, Alaska. Photograph credit score: Meg Roussos/Bloomberg/Getty Photographs