Statement in Response Canadian Transport Minister Interim Order No. 5 Passenger Vessel Restrictions Due to COVID-19 Extended Through February 2022
Seattle, Wash., Feb. 4, 2021 — We are disappointed to learn about Canada’s decision to extend the interim order that prohibits cruise ships from sailing in its waters and calling on Canadian ports through February 2022 (one year from now). This extension, if not amended as pandemic conditions improve, would require us to cancel our Alaska (West Coast) and Canada/New England (East Coast) cruise vacation seasons this year.
Given the unexpected length of the order, it will take us some time to assess whether there are any options to preserve a portion of the 2021 Alaska season. While we await further information, we have (temporarily) stopped selling Alaska and Canada/New England 2021 cruises, which call on Canadian ports.
We will be consulting authorities in both the U.S. and Canada before we take any additional action. Our highest responsibility and top priorities include operational and environmental compliance, protecting the environment, and the health, safety and well-being of our guests, the communities we visit, and our crew and shoreside employees. The cruise industry has demonstrated its commitment to health and safety through the development of extensive protocols in consultation with a panel of world-class medical experts, which will be implemented when we resume service. In addition, we recognize our importance to the economic health of many Alaskan communities and will continue to pursue any option which might permit safe operation of any portion of the season.
Despite the potential impact to our Alaska sailings, we are committed to operating one of our two Denali lodges, the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel and Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge this summer to support land vacations in Alaska’s magnificent interior. We will continue to maintain a focus on what we can do to support our fellow Alaska businesses, the thousands of people who rely on the tourism industry, and the regions in which we operate.
While this is beyond our control, we remain committed to operating any portion of our Alaska season and we are hopeful that positive progress relative to the pandemic accelerates to the point that the Canadian Transport Minister will rescind the interim order and allow cruise vacations to resume in 2021.