One of the world’s largest passenger carriers backs a proposal to circumvent a cruise ban implemented by the Canadian government.
By Michael McGrady, Maritime Direct Americas & Pacific Correspondent
WASHINGTON — Royal Caribbean, headquartered in Miami, Fla., announced its support for the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act introduced by Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both Republicans, to help save the Alaska cruise season after Canadian border actions.
Maritime Direct reported that Omar Alghabra, the Canadian Minister of Transport, announced a no-sail ban for cruise ships on February 4. Note, the government implemented a comprehensive ban on cruise vessels during the 2020-2021 operational year. However, due to the country’s concerns over various new strains of COVID-19, the same ban was renewed for another year.
“This bill would allow cruise ships to sail to Alaska without requiring that they stop in Canada,” said Michael Bayley, the president, and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises, in a social media statement that was posted last Friday.
He added: “If passed, this would represent a step in the right direction for the Alaskan communities that depend on the tourism industry. If you support the bill, please reach out to your representatives to make your voice heard!”
“Canada’s recent decision to prohibit Alaska-bound cruise ships from operating in Canadian waters creates legal hurdles that will hamstring the Alaska cruise season, creating additional economic strain on Alaska’s entire economy, especially in our Southeast communities,” said Sen. Murkowski in a press statement dated March 5, 2021.
We also reported that Rep. Don Young, a Republican representing Alaska’s whole, filed companion legislation in the House of Representatives. The House proposal has already been granted extensive support from industry groups in Alaska and in and around Seattle, Wash., where Royal Caribbean intends to homeport three of its northward cruise liners in the upcoming season.
Other firms and trade groups support the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act and intend to lobby both Congress and the Canadian government to revive the Alaska cruise season.