Transport Canada extended its ban by continuing its order prohibiting cruise vessels in all Canadian waters until February 28, 2022. The orders, which were extended several times were announced by Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra.
The orders prohibit any cruise vessel carrying more than 100 or more people from operating in Canadian waters, effectively canceling the 2021 Alaska and Canada New England seasons for all but small, U.S.-flagged vessels.
The order also ban all adventure-seeking pleasure craft and passenger vessels from entering Canada's Arctic waters, including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, and the Labrador Coast. That part of the order rules out smaller expedition vessels from conducting their 2021 itineraries.
The orders re-iterated that the Government of Canada continues to advise Canadian citizens and permanent residents to avoid all travel on cruise ships outside Canada until further notice.
As Canadians continue to do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, our government continues to work hard to ensure Canada's transportation system remains safe, said Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra in a statement.
Temporary prohibitions to cruise vessels and pleasure craft are essential to continue to protect the most vulnerable among our communities and avoid overwhelming our health care systems. This is the right and responsible thing to do.
Cruise lines, ports and stakeholders from Washington State to Alaska and beyond are reacting to the news, specifically as it relates to the 2021 Alaska cruise season. As of this writing, no cruise lines have officially cancelled their 2021 Alaska cruises, while Holland America Line and Princess Cruises have stated they intend to operate their land-based hotels in Alaska as-planned.
“As the state with the most extensive shared border with Canada, the Alaska Delegation has worked in good-faith to seek compromise over border crossing restrictions due to COVID-19, keeping in mind the health and safety of Alaskans and Canadians, a joint statement issued by Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young, all R-Alaska, read.
Canada’s announcement to ban all cruise sailings carrying 100 people or more traveling through Canadian waters, without so much as a courtesy conversation with the Alaska Delegation, is not only unexpected—it is unacceptable—and was certainly not a decision made with any consideration for Alaskans or our economy.
We expect more from our Canadian allies.