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Another major cruise line unveils plans to restart in Alaska

June 01, 2021
4 min read
Another major cruise line unveils plans to restart in Alaska
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Make that seven major cruise lines that have announced plans to restart Alaska sailings this summer.

Luxury line Silversea on Tuesday said it would resume cruises to The Last Frontier out of Seattle on July 29 with a single ship, the 596-passenger Silver Muse.

The vessel will operate 10- and 11-night, round-trip voyages to the Southeastern Alaskan towns of Ketchikan, Juneau, Wrangell, Skagway and Sitka through the fall.

Silversea is joining Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Line in announcing a return to Alaska in either late July or early August.

Silversea's announcement comes just eight days after President Joe Biden signed legislation that temporarily allows foreign-flagged cruise ships such as those operated by Silversea to sail to Alaska this summer without stopping in Canada.

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The legislation, called the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act, was necessary for Silversea and the other major lines to restart cruises to Alaska because Canada currently is closed to cruise ships.

The legislation specifically grants a temporary waiver to the 135-year-old Passenger Vessel Services Act, which forbids foreign-flagged passenger ships from sailing between U.S. ports without making a stop at a foreign port such as those in Canada.

While Alaska draws a few small, U.S.-flagged cruise vessels each year, the vast majority of vacationers who visit the state in a typical year by cruise ship come on a foreign-flagged vessel. All big cruise ships that typically operate in Alaska are foreign-flagged ships.

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Tuesday's announcement is more welcome news for tourist towns in Southeastern Alaska such as Juneau and Skagway, which haven't been visited by a major 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.

Still, the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act doesn't guarantee that a cruise line can operate in Alaska this summer. Cruise lines operating all but the smallest ships also need to win approval to sail in Alaska 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.

A spokesperson for Silversea told TPG that the line had gotten CDC approval for Silver Muse to operate in Alaska. That's significant, as several of the other lines that have announced plans to restart sailings in Alaska still don't have CDC approval.

Silversea said the new Alaska 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.

The sailings are not yet available for booking. They'll be added to the Silversea website starting on June 7, the line said.

Silversea on Tuesday also announced it would begin cruises around Iceland on July 30. The trips will take place on the 382-passenger Silver Shadow.

Silversea had previously announced plans to restart operations in the Eastern Mediterranean in June with one ship sailing out of Piraeus, Greece. Silversea also is restarting sailings in the Galápagos in June.

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Featured image by Silversea's newest ship, Silver Moon. (Photo courtesy of Silversea)
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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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
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  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023