3 major cruise brands announce Alaska restarts — but they still need CDC approval
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Three of the world’s biggest cruise lines on Thursday said they expected to restart cruises to Alaska in July, citing new federal legislation that could make it possible.
Holland America, Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line — all owned by cruising giant Carnival Corp. — simultaneously announced what, at first blush, appeared to be definitive plans to restart sailings to Alaska out of Seattle on July 24, July 25 and July 27, respectively.
Still, the sailings aren’t quite as definitive as they seem. They remain contingent on approval from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency has been blocking cruise ships from sailing in U.S. waters for more than a year, citing worries about the spread of COVID-19 on ships. So far, it has given no such approval to any cruise line.
For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s new cruise newsletter.
A spokesperson for Carnival Corp. told TPG that the company was optimistic that approval for Alaska sailings from the CDC was not far off. The CDC and cruise lines have been in increasingly intense discussions about a restart to cruising from U.S. ports in recent weeks.
“We are optimistic that we will be able to conclude our ongoing discussions with the CDC,” said Carnival Corp. spokesperson Roger Frizzell.
Carnival Corp. is increasingly confident it can restart cruises in Alaska in July in part because, as of Thursday, it appears to have cleared a second hurdle to restarting such trips.
The announcement from Carnival Corp. came just hours after the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would allow foreign-flagged cruise ships (such as those operated by Carnival Corp.) to sail to Alaska this summer without stopping in Canada.
Without the legislation, the Carnival-owned brands would have been unable to sail to Alaska this summer even if the CDC granted approval for such sailings, as Canada currently is closed to cruise ships.
By law, foreign-flagged cruise ships can’t sail between U.S. ports without making a stop at a foreign port such as those in Canada. The law, the Passenger Vessel Services Act, was designed to give America’s maritime industry a monopoly on travel between U.S. ports and has been on the books since 1886.
The legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday temporarily waives the Passenger Vessel Services Act until Canada’s ports reopen. Similar legislation was passed by the U.S. Senate last week. The bill still must be signed by President Joe Biden to become law.
Assuming President Biden signs the bill and the CDC approval for the Alaska sailings comes through, the three Carnival Corp. brands plan to operate one ship each in Alaska starting in July.
Carnival Corp. said the sailings only would be open to passengers who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Passengers will have to show proof they have received a final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to a cruise starting.
“We are excited to once again serve our guests from the U.S., and we express our deep gratitude to all national, state and local officials who have worked collaboratively with us, the CDC and our entire industry to make this possible,” Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said in a statement accompanying the announcement.
Thursday’s announcement is welcome news for tourist towns in Southeastern Alaska such as Juneau and Skagway, which haven’t been visited by a cruise ship since the summer of 2019. The towns rely on cruise ships to deliver more than 90% of their visitors in a normal year.
Princess on Thursday said the one ship it planned to operate in Alaska starting in July, the 3,560-passenger Majestic Princess, would sail to the Southeastern Alaska towns of Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan as well as Glacier Bay National Park.
Holland America said it would resume Alaska cruises with its 2,106-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam sailing to Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Sitka and Ketchikan. The Holland America trips also will include a visit to Glacier Bay National Park.
Carnival said it would resume Alaska cruises with its 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle sailing to Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan as well as Tracy Arm Fjord.
All of the voyages will be seven nights in length.
Assuming all goes according to plan, the lines will offer the Alaska departures through Sept. 26, Oct. 2 and Sept. 14, respectively.
Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:
- The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
- The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
- A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
- 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
- 15 ways cruisers waste money
- 12 best cruises for people who never want to grow up
- What to pack for your first cruise
Featured image courtesy of Princess Cruises.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees