Canadian Cruise Ban Leads to Cancellations of Alaska Sailings, As Others Extend Pause Operations

Disney Wonder cruise ship

Several major cruise lines extended their pause on operations this week, with some forced to cancel Canadian departures and Alaska itineraries for this year amid a ban on cruise ships in Canada.

Princess Cruises on Wednesday canceled upcoming Pacific Coastal sailings that start or end in Vancouver; Canadian Adventure sailings with roundtrip voyages from the United Kingdom's Southampton; and their Alaska seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruises, which was set to sail between Vancouver and Anchorage.

The company confirmed to Travel + Leisure it was working with Canadian officials to "try to preserve a portion" of its Alaska, New England, or Canadian cruise schedule and would continue to operate land-based hotel packages in Alaska.

Luxury cruise line Seabourn also canceled its 2021 Alaska/British Columbia departures on Wednesday, which included 19 voyages.

The Canadian ban on cruise ships carrying more than 100 people, which was recently extended through February 2022, has had a direct impact on cruise tourism in Alaska since a 100-year-old law currently requires large foreign-flagged ships to stop in Canada before heading north to the state.

"Following the ban, cruise lines held out hope there might be some leeway with Transport Canada – at least to shorten the length of the ban. Unfortunately, it looks as though that wasn't the case, and the lines have canceled as a result," Colleen McDaniel, the editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic, told T L, adding it was "notable" cruise lines had not yet cancelled all Alaska sailings from the U.S.

"Alaska and the cruise lines are still hoping there might be an opportunity to change current regulations to allow for Alaska sailings from the U.S. without the need to stop at a foreign port – Canada, in this instance," she added.

Disney Cruise Line, which on Wednesday canceled all its sailings through May, said it was "evaluating various options for the Disney Wonder's scheduled season in Alaska." The line was also forced to cancel its European sailings on its Disney Magic ship through August 10 due to "the likelihood of international borders remaining closed for an extended period of time."

Beyond Alaska, Carnival Cruise Line extended its ban on all operations from U.S. ports through May 31. This is in addition to its already planned cancellations, including pushing back some European itineraries to the fall.

When cruises finally do hit the high seas, they will have to first comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "'Conditional Sail' Order," which includes the requirement to hold test sailings.

Some cruise lines — including Crystal Cruises — will require guests to be fully vaccinated before boarding, while others — like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Regent Seven Seas — will aim to vaccinate all crew going forward.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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