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Canada on Saturday will see something it hasn't seen in more than 900 days — a cruise ship

April 08, 2022
4 min read
Koningsdam cruise ship sailing out of Oslo
Canada on Saturday will see something it hasn't seen in more than 900 days — a cruise ship
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Add Canada to the list of countries that are finally back on the map for cruisers.

The popular cruise destination on Saturday will start welcoming cruise ships for the first time in nearly 2 1/2 years — ending one of the longest and most notable countrywide halts to cruise ship arrivals since the COVID-19 crisis began.

Holland America's 2,650-passenger Koningsdam will be the first cruise vessel to visit Canada since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, arriving early Saturday at the British Columbian port of Victoria for a day-long visit.

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Ships from six more cruise lines — Viking, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise Line — will resume Canada calls over the next three weeks with stops at Victoria and nearby Vancouver in British Columbia.

Several more lines including Carnival Cruise Line and Regent Seven Seas Cruises will restart Canada calls in May with stops in Victoria and Vancouver. Several of the lines and others will also resume calls on the east coast of Canada in May.

Canada banned cruise ship arrivals in March 2020, in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the country has not seen cruise ships since long before that, due to the quirks of the Canadian cruise calendar.

Nearly all cruises to Canada take place during a relatively short window between April and October of any given year. As a result, Canada's ports have not welcomed a cruise ship since October 2019 — six months before the pandemic began. This has resulted in a cruising shutdown in Canada that has lasted about 25% longer than the shutdowns seen in any other major cruise destination.

Koningsdam's arrival in Victoria on Saturday will mark the port's first cruise call since Oct. 18, 2019, at the very end of Canada's 2019 cruise season. It'll be the first cruise ship to visit Victoria in 905 days.

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The ship will arrive in Victoria at the tail end of a seven-night cruise up the California and Oregon coast from San Diego. The cruise ends Sunday in Vancouver, British Columbia — marking the first time a cruise ship has visited that port since the fall of 2019.

Koningsdam will be based in Vancouver for the coming summer for sailings to Alaska. Both Vancouver and Victoria on Canada's west coast are common stops (or in Vancouver's case, a home port) for summer voyages to Alaska.

"We are thrilled to be the first cruise line back into Canada after such a long absence, and we look forward to celebrating a great moment for everyone who loves to travel and for those in Canada and Alaska whose livelihoods depend on tourism,” Holland America president Gus Antorcha said in a statement sent to TPG. "Holland America Line has a robust schedule of cruises [planned for 2022] that explore Canadian ports on both coasts with Alaska, Hawaii, transatlantic and Canada and New England itineraries.”

To mark the milestone, Antorcha and local government officials will be on hand in both Victoria and Vancouver over the weekend to celebrate the resumption of Canada cruising.

Holland America is one of the largest operators of cruises that visit the west coast of Canada and Alaska, with six ships based in the region during summers. For the coming season, its vessels are scheduled to call 45 times at Victoria, bringing 75,000 people to the city. Seventy-six Holland America sailings will begin or end in Vancouver, bringing 140,000 people.

On the east coast, Holland America operates two vessels on a seasonal basis on Canada and New England trips between Boston and Quebec City or Montreal.

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Featured image by Holland America's Koningsdam. (Photo courtesy of Holland America)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

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  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,600.
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  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees