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Alaska on the fast track to reopen for cruises, special legislation will eliminate need to stop in Canada


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MAY 13, 2021 8:59 PM BY THE MARITIME EXECUTIVE

In a voice vote, the U.S. Senate this afternoon approved the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act that would permit large cruise ships to operate cruises to Alaska this summer. The act provides a waiver of the U.S. cabotage laws. The measure goes to the U.S. House for approval before it can be sent to President Joe Biden for his signature.

The Act was a simple and direct measure that states that a roundtrip voyage transporting passengers between a port or place in the State of Alaska and a port or place in the State of Washington is deemed a foreign voyage for purposes of the law of the United States. The act remains in effect till February 2022.

The purpose of the effort was to circumvent the Canadian decision to close its ports to large cruise ships until 2022. Under the U.S. Passenger Vessel Services Act, all foreign flag passenger ships are required to stop at a foreign port when transporting American citizens between two U.S. ports. The large cruise ships traditionally have sailed either from the port of Vancouver, Canada, or Seattle, Washington on their summer cruise programs to Alaska. The closure of the Canadian ports and Canada’s refusal of even technical calls, where a ship stops in the port but does not disembark passengers, was effectively blocking the cruise lines from Alaska this year.

Alaskans have been appealing for relief because of the strong impact from the loss of its summer tourism. Cruises to Alaska had been one of the most popular summer programs drawing well over one million passengers each year. Even the small cruise lines, which had not been blocked and are now beginning their summer programs to Alaska, announced that they would support a temporary waiver because of the importance of tourism to the Alaskan economy.

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6 minutes ago, Bill Miller said:

MAY 13, 2021 8:59 PM BY THE MARITIME EXECUTIVE

In a voice vote, the U.S. Senate this afternoon approved the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act that would permit large cruise ships to operate cruises to Alaska this summer. The act provides a waiver of the U.S. cabotage laws. The measure goes to the U.S. House for approval before it can be sent to President Joe Biden for his signature.

The Act was a simple and direct measure that states that a roundtrip voyage transporting passengers between a port or place in the State of Alaska and a port or place in the State of Washington is deemed a foreign voyage for purposes of the law of the United States. The act remains in effect till February 2022.

The purpose of the effort was to circumvent the Canadian decision to close its ports to large cruise ships until 2022. Under the U.S. Passenger Vessel Services Act, all foreign flag passenger ships are required to stop at a foreign port when transporting American citizens between two U.S. ports. The large cruise ships traditionally have sailed either from the port of Vancouver, Canada, or Seattle, Washington on their summer cruise programs to Alaska. The closure of the Canadian ports and Canada’s refusal of even technical calls, where a ship stops in the port but does not disembark passengers, was effectively blocking the cruise lines from Alaska this year.

Alaskans have been appealing for relief because of the strong impact from the loss of its summer tourism. Cruises to Alaska had been one of the most popular summer programs drawing well over one million passengers each year. Even the small cruise lines, which had not been blocked and are now beginning their summer programs to Alaska, announced that they would support a temporary waiver because of the importance of tourism to the Alaskan economy.

Canada clearly has reasons for doing what they are, though that said, I am glad the US now doing what they are.  It’s time to resume.

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Here at Cruise Critic, we recommended this change in the law almost one year ago.  No one "seconded the motion," and no lawmakers took action on our suggestion until now.

 

As the saying goes, however, "Better late than never."  At long last, someone is acting intelligently.

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1 hour ago, jg51 said:

and no lawmakers took action on our suggestion until now.

 

Just maybe it was the Tuna Industry example that did it....

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5 hours ago, LGW59 said:

Canada clearly has reasons for doing what they are, though that said, I am glad the US now doing what they are.  It’s time to resume.

We are avid cruisers, Canadian and live in Vancouver.  I am delighted that cruisers will be allowed to sail to Alaska from Seattle.  Not cruising out of Vancouver or stopping in Victoria, BC, does impact our economy greatly but both our provincial and federal governments feel that COVID still presents a risk and the exposure is too great.  I'm sad to say that according to today's numbers only 40% of BC residents have received 1 dose of the vaccine and only 2.06% are fully vaccinated.  So, as I'm sure you can appreciate, we're just not there yet.....sad to say.  

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14 minutes ago, Kathy53 said:

We are avid cruisers, Canadian and live in Vancouver.  I am delighted that cruisers will be allowed to sail to Alaska from Seattle.  Not cruising out of Vancouver or stopping in Victoria, BC, does impact our economy greatly but both our provincial and federal governments feel that COVID still presents a risk and the exposure is too great.  I'm sad to say that according to today's numbers only 40% of BC residents have received 1 dose of the vaccine and only 2.06% are fully vaccinated.  So, as I'm sure you can appreciate, we're just not there yet.....sad to say.  

Keep the faith, Kathy53, you all will get there!!!

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26 minutes ago, LGW59 said:

Keep the faith, Kathy53, you all will get there!!!

We've waited this long so we're just staying the course. 🙂  We have 4 cruises in 2022 so to say that we are excited is an understatement.  

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, LGW59 said:

Or perhaps now Hair Salon Nancy, Chuckles the Clown, Mitch the Snitch and No Back Bone Kevin have now best decided who can best mess up our lives, they have FINALLY had time to focus on OUR serious  cruise problems.  Can we please get back to our regular programming of tipping, AI, where is the bed...

Well said! 

And yes, how do we determine if the bed is next to the bathroom or veranda? Just kidding. So happy to be back to regular cruise questions. 

Edited by bye-seaya
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6 hours ago, K.T.B. said:

Yep, I posted it yesterday:  

 

There can be a bit of a season.  Realistically cruises are cut in half without Vancouver.   Cruise companies still need to coordinate getting crew to the ships, vaccinated, quarantine completed and trained.  Should get going for August and September has always been my favorite time in AK.  Happy to see things happening. 

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1 hour ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Anyone have an idea which ship Celebrity would choose for a limited 2021 summer season as I can't find any on the West Coast from LA to Panama?

 

We’re supposed to be on the eclipse on the 25th of July. It’s in Off the coast of Singapore currently with another ship. 

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