Alaska cruises to resume!: How were cruise lines able to ditch foreign port requirement?
Updated: Jul 3, 2021
(unofficial blog: not affiliated with Celebrity Cruise Line)
On February 17, 2021 I reported in an article that cruise lines put Alaska sailings on hold after the Canadian government banned cruise ships until the end of February 2022. In the article mentioned above, I discussed the different scenarios that would allow cruise lines to be able to sail even with the Canadian cruise ship ban in effect. The Passenger Vessel Service Act (PVSA) requires cruises starting from the US to stop at least one foreign port. One workaround was to modify federal law to not require a foreign port.
On Thursday May 20, 2021 US Congress passed The Alaska Tourism Restoration Act (H.R. 1318) which would remove the foreign port requirement from Alaska sailings leaving from the United States. This bill was signed into law by President Biden on May 24,2021.
Alaska’s economy heavily relies on tourism including cruise ships. Representative Don Young from Alaska said: “We lost billions of dollars last year because of Covid in the tourist industry, and this bill that we just passed by this House unanimously will give us an opportunity to recover that, not the money, but the ability to take and serve the people of America and the tourist industry in and southeast Alaska and the rest of the state of Alaska."
This workaround has Canadian officials concerned. The premier of British Columbia John Horgan is going to meet with representatives from Alaska regarding this soon-to-be-passed bill. The CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority expressed concern months ago about the possibility of the US changing the requirement of having a foreign port; in addition, he is concerned that this change could become permanent. Do you think the US did the right thing by changing the law?
Celebrity Cruise Lines first voyage is a seven night cruise scheduled to depart from Seattle Washington which will sail the Inside Passage to: Ketchikan, Endicott Arms, Junea, and Skagway Alaska.