Cruise Lines Surprised and Disappointed at Canada’s One-Year Ban

The public was not the only one surprised by Transport Minister Omar Algabra’s announcement on Thursday afternoon. Most major cruise lines were quick to react, the vast majority of them surprised and disappointed by the drastic measures Canada had taken to stop the spread of COWID-19.

Canada has now banned the operation of cruise ships with 100 or more passengers within its international borders.

The ban applies to all Arctic voyages entering Canadian territory, all Alaska cruises on non-U.S. flag vessels, all New England voyages entering Canadian ports, and all other voyages entering Canadian ports or Canadian waters.

 

If the global health crisis improves to the point where travel in Canadian waters can resume, the Minister of Transportation may lift the temporary measures.

We have summarized the responses of the major cruise lines and how this affects each of them.

Carnival Cruise

Carnival Cruise Line is a member of CLIA, Cruise Lines International Association – North West & Canada. In an initial reaction, the cruise lobby group was particularly surprised by the length of the cruise ban.

While the organization understands that the government is doing its utmost to combat COWID-19 within Canadian borders, it believes that Canada has not allowed the industry to demonstrate that it has taken science-based measures to make cruises safe.

Charlie Ball, president of the organization, said:

“While we understand and support the government’s attention to the COWID-19 issue in Canada, we are surprised at the length of time the cruise ban has been in place. We hope to have the opportunity to review this timeline and demonstrate our ability to address COWID-19 in a science-based expedition, as CLIA members have done in Europe and parts of Asia where expeditions have resumed on a limited basis.”

Carnival Cruise Ship in Miami Image credit: Igor_Koptilin / Shutterstock.com

Carnival Cruise Ambassador John Hald also commented on the surprising news from Canada, which he posted on his popular Facebook page :

“Everyone at Carnival Cruise Line understands how disappointing this news is, and of course we appreciate the announcement, but I simply have no further news at this time. We will of course keep you informed, and as we have done so many times over the past twelve months, I want to thank you for your patience.”

For the Carnival cruise line, the only ship likely to be affected is the Carnival Freedom, a seven-day voyage from Seattle to Alaska that begins May 4. The cruise line needs time to assess the situation.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line is disappointed with the Canadian decision, but understands and appreciates the government’s focus on the fight against COWID-19.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship

The cruise line is currently reviewing its itineraries before providing updates to customers who have booked cruises to Alaska and Canada.

Hi, Beth. I understand your concern. Like you, we just found out and are working on a plan B by evaluating options for our routes to Canada. We will email you or your travel advisor with updates and alternatives by the end of next week. -Jo-Ann

– Royal Caribbean (@RoyalCaribbean) February 4, 2021

The line said it will work closely with regulators and support local businesses in Alaska:

“We will continue to work with health and transportation organizations to examine the impact on multiple sectors of the Canadian economy. We will also continue to focus on what we can do to support our other businesses in Alaska, the people who depend on the tourism industry and the regions where we operate.

Royal Caribbean had planned to send four ships to Alaska in 2021. Quantum of the Seas had previously been canceled due to her stay in Singapore, where it currently sails.

Royal Caribbean Cruises is now likely to cancel the Alaska season for Ovation of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas. Cruises in Alaska and in Canada and New England have been removed from the companies’ websites.

Holland America Line and Princess Cruises

No other cruise line has been as affected by the ban on cruises in Canada as Holland America Line and Princess Cruises. The Seattle-based company planned to operate at least six ships in Alaska this season, while Princess Cruises planned to operate four.

Holland America and Princess Cruise Ships Credit image : Stories in the light / Shutterstock.com

The cruise lines are taking a firm stance on this situation. They state that they recognize their importance to the economic well-being of many communities in Alaska and that they will continue to seek an option that allows them to operate safely at any time during the season. The companies made the announcement in a joint statement:

“While the situation is beyond our control, we remain committed to ensuring that every part of our season in Alaska runs smoothly, and we hope that the progress made in combating the pandemic will be sufficient to persuade Canada’s Minister of Transportation to lift the temporary order and allow cruises to resume in 2021.

Of course, any trip aboard a ship depends entirely on the Canadian government’s permission to enter Canadian territory, or on the possibility that the U.S. government repeals or amends the Ship Passenger Services Act, which seems unlikely.

Holland America Line’s six ships sailing to Alaska this season depart on the dates listed below:

  • Noordam… Departure 23 May 2021
  • Koningsdam. Departure May 22, 2021.
  • New Amsterdam. Departure May 23, 2021.
  • Osterdam. Departure June 13, 2021.
  • Zuiderdam. Departure on June 10, 2021.
  • Eurodam – Departure 12 June 2021

Princess Cruises had five ships in operation on the following dates:

  • The Emerald Princess will expire on May 15, 2021.
  • Princess Coral 02 June 2021
  • Majestic Princess 05 June 2021
  • Royal Princess June 12, 2021
  • The Great Princess expires on May 15, 2021.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises also issued a press release stating the following:

“We know this is disappointing news, especially in light of the Alaska cruise season. We remain focused on all efforts to resume service, with the health, safety and well-being of our guests, the communities we visit, and crew and shore personnel as our top priorities.”

The company added that it will investigate the flights affected by the cruise ban and contact customers and travel partners in due course.

Celebrity Cruise Ship Image credit: Just Dance / Shutterstock.com

Celebrity cruises in Alaska are planned on the Celebrity Solstice, the Celebrity Millennium and the Celebrity Eclipse. At the same time, a trip to New England was planned for fall 2021.

Read: IDEAL Business in Sitka, Alaska.

Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line

Neither Disney Cruise Line nor Norwegian Cruise Line has responded to the news from the Canadian government.

Disney Cruise Line had planned for the Disney Wonder to sail on 17 trips to Alaska this year. So far, Disney Cruise Line has not officially canceled its Alaska cruises in 2021 and early 2022.

Norwegian Cruise Line is taking many trips that will be affected by the ban on cruises in Canada. Below are the various ships that will be affected by the ban in 2021:

  • Alaska cruises aboard: Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Jewelry, Norwegian Felicity, Norwegian Still
  • Canada and New England sail aboard: Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Pearl
  • Sailing the west coast of the United States aboard the Norwegian Bliss

Alaska is not quite there yet.

Although major cruise lines may be forced to cancel their routes to Alaska and North America, not all are doomed. Cruise lines flying the U.S. flag will have no problem traveling to Alaska, as they need a permit from the CDC to do so.

Cruise lines that can do this are Alaskan Dream Cruises, American Cruise Lines, American Queen Steamboat Company, The Boat Company, Lindblad Expeditions and UnCruise Adventures.

Also to read: should we forget about the Alaska cruise season in 2021?

This is a shocking announcement by the Canadian government that, I hope, will not be repeated in other countries around the world. Canada was one of the first countries to ban cruises last year and almost every country in the world followed suit.

Further expansion of cruise ship operations would be a disaster not only for cruise ships and their fans around the world, but also for the millions of people, families, businesses and communities who depend on this industry and depend on it for their income and livelihood.

Main photo credit : EB Adventure Photography / Shutterstock.com

Vancouver Cruise Port, Canada

Frequently asked questions

Has Canada banned cruise ships?

Canada’s Minister of Transport announced Thursday that he has banned all cruise ships from Canadian waters until February 28, 2022. In particular, cruise ships with 100 or more people on board will no longer be allowed to enter Canadian waters. According to the Canadian government, cruise ships “pose a risk to our health systems.”

Is it safe to go on a cruise when you are one year old?

Yes, you can take your baby on a cruise. With the exception of some adult-only ships, you may travel on most cruise lines with an infant older than six months. On some itineraries – especially exotic cruises and long ocean crossings – the minimum age for children is one year or older.

Will all cruises be cancelled in 2020?

(Updated at 3:56 p.m. EDT) — A growing number of cruise lines have begun canceling their entire 2020 schedule as the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect travel around the world, with the latest cruises from Windstar and Cunard Line cancelled.

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