Holland America Line’s announcement Thursday that it plans to restart cruising to Alaska roundtrip from Seattle, Washington aboard Nieuw Amsterdam in July is not good news for Vancouver.
The cruises can bypass their traditional stops in Vancouver because of the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act which passed the Senate by bipartisan agreement last week. It exempts cruises from Seattle to Alaska from abiding by the 19th-century law known as the Passenger Vessel Services Act which requires foreign-flagged cruise ships to make a stop in another country when travelling between domestic ports.
Canada has banned foreign cruise ships from docking in this country until February 2021 which had thrown this year’s Alaska cruise season into crisis mode.
The measure is supposed to be temporary and is meant to expire when Canada reopens its ports to cruise ships, or at the end of next February, whichever happens first, but there’s no reason for it not to become permanent if American lawmakers wanted it to.
Bookings are open for the 10 Saturday departures that will operate from July 24 through October 2, 2021. The seven-day “Alaskan Explorer” itinerary calls at Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Sitka and Ketchikan. Scenic cruising in Alaska’s iconic locales includes Glacier Bay and Stephens Passage.
“Holland America Line has been cruising to Alaska for nearly 75 years, and we feel deeply committed to trying to help our friends in ‘The Great Land’ get back on their feet in any way we can this summer,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line in a press release. “Given the recent positive collaboration from the CDC, as well as optimism about a resolution with the PVSA, we feel like it’s now or never to give ourselves a chance to bring cruising back to Alaska this year.