Why cruisers shouldn’t get too excited about Canada’s just-announced plan to reopen to cruise ships

Jul 16, 2021

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.

Canada’s transport minister on Thursday announced the country would end its ban on cruise ship visits on Nov. 1 — four months ahead of schedule. But cruise fans shouldn’t get too excited about the change.

For the most part, cruises to Canada still won’t resume until April of next year.

That’s because cruise ships generally don’t travel to Canada between November and March, which is the off-season for travel to Canada.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s new cruise newsletter.

Cruises to Canada typically take place seasonally between April and October.

As of now, the first Eastern Canada cruise on the schedule for any major line is a 12-night Viking sailing from New York to Toronto starting on April 18, 2022.

The first cruise ship calls currently scheduled for ports on the West Coast of Canada also are in April, as cruise ships begin returning to the region for the Alaska cruise season.

Even after Canadian transport minister Omar Alghabra’s announcement on Thursday, the 2021 season for cruises to Canada essentially remains a wash.

Both the Eastern Canada cruise season and Alaska cruise season for 2021 will be over by Nov. 1.

If any cruise vessels operate in Canada in November or December, they are likely to be small vessels but not the big ships from major lines that account for the majority of the Canadian cruise business.

Alghabra acknowledged as much on Thursday with a tweet saying cruisers will be able to come back in 2022.

The change announced Thursday moves up the end date for the Canada cruise ban from Feb. 28, 2022 — a date set back in February of this year in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

At the time, COVID-19 case counts in North America were much higher than they are today.

The cruise ship ban in Canada, in turn, led to a crisis for cruise lines operating in Alaska, as most cruise ships are not allowed to visit Alaska without also visiting Canada due to a 135-year-old U.S. law known as the Passenger Vessel Services Act.

A new law passed in May by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Biden temporarily waived the Passenger Vessel Services Act, allowing cruise lines that faced a lost Alaska season to prepare for a resumption of cruises to the state this summer.

Royal Caribbean on Monday will become the first major cruise line to restart cruises to Alaska in nearly two years, with a sailing of a ship out of Seattle that will not touch a Canadian port.

The sailing and others like it scheduled for the coming months by more than half a dozen major cruise brands have caused concern in Canada that cruise operators, with the help of additional U.S. legislation, could permanently drop calls in Canada on Alaska cruises. The calls are important to the economies of Canadian ports such as Victoria in British Columbia.

While the Canadian transport minister’s announcement on Thursday will have little impact on when cruise ships will resume sailings to Canada, it can be seen as a signal to cruise lines that the country is eager for them to keep Canadian ports on their schedules for 2022 and beyond.

“We will welcome cruise ships, an important part of our tourism sector, back in Canadian waters for the 2022 season,” Alghabra said on Thursday.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image courtesy of Adventure Canada.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

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.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • 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
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.