Wednesday, February 10, 2021
A New Reality
Hey, have you heard? All cruise ships have been banned in Canadian waters through 2021!!! Can you believe it, just when you thought you could see the light at the end of the tunnel; it turns out to be another approaching train!!!
So, let us explain:
Just as we thought the covid-19 vaccinations would put us all back on a track to normalcy; and we started planning cruises and trips to wonderful places—like Alaska in the summertime—Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport for Canada, issued a new order prohibiting all cruise vessels carrying more than 100 passengers from operating in Canadian waters until FEBRUARY 28, 2022!!! That is not a typo—yes, until February 28, 2022!!! The order was issued on Thursday, February 4, 2021. This ruling not only kills the Alaska Cruise season, but sadly, also affects the Great Lakes and Canada/New England seasons. This would also include the Canadian Maritimes as well as the Canadian Arctic. There will be a lot of disappointed travelers. There will also be a lot of economic turmoil in those port cities that depend on cruise ship tourism. And just this morning, Adventure Canada (a one-ship company based in Mississauga, Ontario and famous for its expedition cruises in the Canadian Arctic) has canceled all its sailings for the rest of the year.
And so it goes.
Of course, this ban was imposed due to the Covid 19 virus, and it may be cancelled or amended as the viral spread is slowed or halted. However, we are concerned that once cruise lines plan their itineraries with this ban in mind, changes will be difficult to accomplish if the Canadian waters suddenly open back up.
What does it all mean:
For Alaska, this issue is compounded by the Passenger Vessel Services Act of 1886 enacted by the 49th United States Congress on June 19, 1886. PVSA is the law requiring foreign-flagged cruise ships operating in American waters to stop, at least once per voyage, in a foreign port. That means cruise lines like Holland America, Princess Cruises, and Royal Caribbean (all operating foreign-flagged ships) must include at least one stop in a Canadian port. Well, you see the problem. Chances are slim the cruise lines will now choose to sail to Mexico during an Alaskan voyage to satisfy that requirement!!! Perhaps the American Congress could issue a waiver, but that would take some time, wouldn’t it???
The bottom line:
This announcement has, pretty much, wiped out Alaskan and New England/Maritime cruises for another year!!! The only U.S.-flagged cruise line, American Cruise Lines, already does operate in Alaska. They have a fleet of 13 ships (but 3 of them are paddle-wheelers) and only 3 of the other 10 (the Independence Class Coastal Ships: Independence, American Spirit and American Star) fit the 100 or less passenger requirement imposed by the Canadian government to enter their waters. This ban is a big deal!!! And it comes with major economic consequences.
Hopefully, there will be good news to report before too long!!!!
Meanwhile, here are some photos to soothe the soul of both Alaskan and Canadian ports :
Newfoundland and Labrador
Corner Brook, Newfoundland
Broadway St. Skagway, Alaska (Explorer1940 – Own work CC BY-SA 4.0)
All together now!!!
Let’s wish the cruise industry well.
5 thoughts on “Canada Bans Cruise Ships for All of 2021”
Sorry about that, but Canada sees the writing on the wall with the virus variants. Will be interesting to see what the US CDC does. I am so glad you have had the vaccine!!
We had planned 3 or 4 Alaska cruises on HAL this year: home-port, easy, no air …….. now looking at 2022 and see tons of good possibilities. Fingers crossed that cruising will be doable by then!
Your photos are so timely. One of the cruises we are considering is a Boston to Boston (CNE,Greenland and Iceland) and your photos of the Maritimes are just what I wanted to see. Some ports like Red Bay and St Anthony remind me of the Falklands as seen from anchor.
Delightful post, much enjoyed. have a great weekend!
Sad to hear you had cruises canceled. But 2022 should be a very active year for cruising!!! If you’d like to see more photos of Canada/New England Greenland and Iceland, you can look up our Voyage of the Vikings cruise posts in the Archives for Jul-Aug 2018. That was a fabulous trip!!!
Hi! Just read through your VoV blog posts. WOW! I have two pages of small print notes and enjoyed the photos which were also very helpful. This is a huge plus for me planning this cruise!
Here are a few questions:
1. I wondered what money you used. Have read that credit or debit cards are the norm in Iceland, anywhere, big or small towns. Agree? What about Greenland?
2. Weather: our cruise is throughout August, but I do think it will be cool to cold the whole time.
3. Have read about 16 hours of daylight. Do you remember how it was for you, the sunrise and set times? There is a possibility of the Northern Lights in later August but of course only in the dark.
4. Much sea life from the ship? Whales? Dolphins? Puffins?
Thanks for the dates for your blog posts: made it easy to find them!
PS: just noticed I should maybe be using the “contact” info for this 🙂
Glad you found useful info for Greenland and Iceland!!! I’ll try to answer your questions in a pithy and comprehensive manor. We took USD and Euros with us. The ship will usually exchange currency where needed. In Iceland, US dollars, and Euros were often accepted. Credit cards are easy to use. Greenland, however, is not happy with credit cards–not everyone will accept them. But British pounds, Euros and US dollars were often accepted. Greenland is a territory of Denmark, so the Danish Krone is the official currency. Iceland is independent; they use the Icelandic Krone. We had cold weather clothing with us. Jackets, gloves, hats and boots. Yes, it can get quite nippy!!! Not to mention the rain!!! Hoods are your friend!!! It’s August so the days are long and we never did see the Northern lights–maybe we just spent too many evenings inside the ship??? Can’t remember where we saw the whales, but on an earlier trip to Reykjavik, we took a Puffin Sightseeing Tour and loved it!!! Hope this helps!!!
This is excellent! So happy to get first hand info. Many thanks!
With that cruise squared away, considering now earlier in 2022 as well, just in case sailing is happening without problems by March 2022 or so. Many choices, with HAL obviously thinking it will be back to “normal” by then (even back to back cruises are listed!).
Snow here, enjoy your sunshine!