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Cruise ships to Reopen in Canada earlier than planned

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The Canadian government banned cruise ships from its ports through February 2022 but announced it would lift the ban earlier than planned.

Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra announced the prohibition will now be lifted as of Nov. 1, which doesn’t really help the economy for 2021 but does ensure planning for 2022.

“As Canadians have done their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, our government continues to work hard to restart our economy safely and build back better,” Alghabra said. “We will welcome cruise ships — an important part of our tourism sector — back in Canadian waters for the 2022 season.”

The lucrative Alaska sailing season usually runs from May-September, while eastern Canadian ports get a lot of business during the fall colour season. With the COVID-19 pandemic, ports in British Columbia, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland will have missed out on two seasons.

The cruise industry halted in March 2020, and only in the last month has sailed in the Western Hemisphere. Canada, though, remains of the board. The block of Canadian ports prompted the U.S. government to pass a law that would temporarily allow foreign-flagged cruise ships sailing from U.S. ports for Alaska sailings to bypass the requirement of docking at least one foreign port during their sailing. Without a Canadian stop on the itinerary, most cruise lines would have been blocked from Alaska sailings without U.S. intervention.

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Several cruise lines are set to return to sailing from Seattle on Alaska itineraries this month. First up is Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas, which already simulated sailing earlier this month. It’s set to welcome paying customers on July 19.

Other ships slated to sail soon are Celebrity Millennium on July 23, followed by Holland America’s ms Nieuw Amsterdam on July 24, Princess Cruises’ Majestic Princess on July 25, Carnival Miracle on July 27 and Norwegian Encore on Aug. 1.

For now, those ships will continue to avoid Canadian ports. For 2022, though, the sailing season is likely to be back to normal.

In a press release, the Canadian government stated cruise lines contribute $4 billion to the country’s economy, contributing to about 30,000 jobs.

“We know that cruise ship passengers want a Canadian experience in British Columbia, and we know that British Columbians want to welcome them to our cities when it is safe to do so,” said British Columbia’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Rob Fleming.

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