Our clients were very excited to be cruising this coming summer to Alaska. Then this month, we received news the Canadian government was extending a ban on cruise ships through February 2022 – a huge blow to all in the travel business. Cruise lines, travel agencies, Alaskan tour companies, ports in Alaska that survive on tourism, all felt like a bomb had been dropped. How much more can we take?
If you are wondering why we have to go to Canada when cruising to Alaska, here is the reason: The Passenger Vessel Services Act or PVSA. This law was enacted by Congress in 1886 restricting trade along the country’s coasts for economic and defence purposes. Therefore ships must be owned by a United States company and registered or “flagged” in the US to avoid having to stop in a foreign port. The larger cruise ships are mostly flagged in foreign countries for various tax reasons. A fine of $762.00 per person is imposed to passengers who violate the act.
When Canada extended the ban on cruising this month, the cruise lines had high hopes that Congress would wave the PVSA act for one year because of the pandemic. It’s never been waived before,
so it was a long shot. When it was clear that wasn’t going to happen, there was hope that cruises going out of Seattle could possibly stop in Victoria, BC if passengers were not allowed to get off the ship. The required stop could take place according to the PVSA and cruises out of Seattle could happen. That’s when the Canadian government stated very clearly that cruise ships will not even be allowed in Canadian waters.
At this writing, cruise lines registered outside the US, have yet to officially cancel Alaska sailings for 2021. I’m sure they are still trying to make this work. Negotiations are reportedly ongoing.
Cruise ships that are flagged in the US are planning to sail. Most are small holding 100 passengers or less. Uncruise Adventures is one of them. I’ve been on the Uncruise ships and loved the experience. Dan Blanchard, CEO of UnCruise said in a press conference, “Alaska here we come. UnCruise is going to be there.”
Don’t give up! Call us and we will make sure you can visit Alaska by small ship or on a land tour.