When the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) dropped its No Sail Order and issued a framework for resuming safe and responsible cruise ship passenger operations in late October, cheers were heard from cruisers and travel agents alike.
Cruise lines will have a lot of requirements that they’ll have to fulfill before they can sail, but at least those are goals they can work towards, instead of floundering and waiting for the CDC to say it’s OK to cruise.
Although places such as the Caribbean will surely be among the first locations that ships will cruise to, others are not so certain.
Alaska, for example.
You see, the same day that the CDC dropped its No Sail Order, Canada extended its cruise ship ban until the end of February, 2021. And, of course, the only way for people in the U.S. take a cruise to Alaska is by having a port of call in Canada, as per the U.S. Passenger Vessel Services Act.
While everyone has been paying attention to the border between the U.S. and Canada remaining closed for another month (I loved Trudeau’s recent statement about it), Canada has been quietly extending its cruise ban, which started in March, time after time.
The ban is imposed on vessels with a capacity of at least 100 passengers, and covers ships operating in Canadian waters. It also covers smaller vessels that carry more than 12 people in Arctic coastal waters.
Said Transport Minister Marc Garneau: “”As Canadians are doing their part to help reduce the spread of Covid-19, the Government of Canada is working hard to ensure Canada’s transportation system remains safe. The extension of these temporary measures for cruise ships and other passenger vessels in Canada reflects our ongoing work with all levels of government, transportation industry stakeholders, and Indigenous peoples.”
Meanwhile, as of this writing, although Alaska recently changed some of its rules for entering, they still require a quarantine period. So there’s also that to consider.
Of course, none of this is a big deal in the winter, when there are normally few, if any cruises to Alaska. But as the cruise industry looks at summer 2021, will Canada continue its ban? Will Alaska still requite a quarantine? Nobody knows, of course. But it’s something to keep an eye on.
Feature Photo: Princess Cruise Line
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary