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Published on Friday, February 5, 2021

Alaska cruise season sunk as Canada extends cruise ban for a year

Canada extended its cruise ship ban for an entire year, which has effectively killed off this year's Alaska cruising season.

It has also put an end to popular New England and Canada sailings.

Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, announced the extension of Canada's current no sail order through February 2022.

"Temporary prohibitions to cruise vessels and pleasure craft are essential to continue to protect the most vulnerable among our communities and avoid overwhelming our health care systems. This is the right and responsible thing to do," the minister said.

It came as a shock for Cruise Lines International Association.

"While we understand and support the government's focus on combatting Covid-19 in Canada, we are surprised by the length of the extension of the prohibition of cruise," said Charlie Ball, Chair of CLIA-North West & Canada.

"We hope to have an opportunity to revisit this timeline and demonstrate our ability to address Covid-19 in a cruise setting with science-backed measures."

The ban prohibits ships carrying more than 100 people in Canadian waters or vessels with more than a dozen passengers entering Arctic coastal waters.

"Two years without cruising in Canada will have potentially irreversible consequences for families throughout the country. We stand ready to work with Canadian health and transportation officials to operationalize a path forward," Ball said.

It is also a major blow to Alaskan coastal communities who rely on cruise traffic.

Legally, because of the Jones Act, foreign flagged ships cannot operate cruises to Alaska or any other US port without a stop at a foreign port en route.

With the usual port calls in Vancouver or Victoria, BC now off-limits for another year, the Alaska season looks doomed.


Written by Ray Montgomery, US Editor

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