Firefighter medic Andy Tighe snaps a photo of the breakaway plus-class cruise ship Norwegian Bliss while Captain Tracy Mettler operates a fireboat in the Tongass Narrows in Ketchikan, Alaska, on June 4, 2018. President Joe Biden signed into law Monday, May 24, 2021, legislation that opens a door for resumed cruise ship travel to Alaska after the pandemic last year scrapped sailings. (Dustin Safranek/Ketchikan Daily News via AP)

Firefighter medic Andy Tighe snaps a photo of the breakaway plus-class cruise ship Norwegian Bliss while Captain Tracy Mettler operates a fireboat in the Tongass Narrows in Ketchikan, Alaska, on June 4, 2018. President Joe Biden signed into law Monday, May 24, 2021, legislation that opens a door for resumed cruise ship travel to Alaska after the pandemic last year scrapped sailings. (Dustin Safranek/Ketchikan Daily News via AP)

Biden signs bill opening door for Alaska cruises to resume, bypassing B.C. ports

Canada, amid COVID-19 concerns, has barred cruise operations through February

President Joe Biden signed into law Monday legislation that opens a door for resumed cruise ship travel to Alaska after the pandemic last year scrapped sailings.

The measure pushed by members of Alaska’s Republican congressional delegation will allow large cruise ships to sail directly from Washington state to Alaska without stopping in Canada. It is intended as a temporary workaround of a longstanding federal law that requires certain large cruise ships bound for Alaska to stop in Canada or start trips there.

Canada, amid COVID-19 concerns, has barred cruise operations through February.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Alaska has a limited opportunity for cruise travel, unlike sunny locales such as Florida. Before the pandemic, the season in Alaska would begin in late spring and extend through the summer or sometimes early fall.

She said cruise lines now have an opportunity to book trips to bring people to Alaska and “help us with our economy that has really been smacked hard by COVID.” Tourism is an important industry in the state, particularly for many southeast Alaska communities heavily reliant on cruise ship passengers.

Passage of the bill underscores the importance of not giving up, Murkowski said in comments alongside Sen. Dan Sullivan and U.S. Rep. Don Young, the other members of the state’s congressional delegation, in Washington, D.C, on Monday.

Cruise lines still must meet guidelines set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to guard against COVID-19.

Earlier Monday, Norwegian Cruise Line announced plans to resume U.S. operations beginning Aug. 7, with voyages from Seattle to Alaska ports. The company has planned sailings through mid-October.

Cruise lines such as Holland America Line also have announced sailing plans.

Many of the large ships that visit Alaska are registered in foreign countries. U.S. law prohibits such ships from sailing between two American ports without stopping at a foreign port.

READ MORE: Public health evaluating how, when Canada can allow fully-vaccinated travellers: Tam

___

Associated Press reporter Darlene Superville contributed from Washington, D.C.

Becky Bohrer, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusCruise ShipsCruisesJoe BidenUSA

Just Posted

Ron getting loose and sipping a glass of the family’s favourite greek amber spirit, Metaxa. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Ron Lechner

Retired part-time singer and Rio Tinto lifer: Ron Lechner

Map of the road work that will be completed this summer. The streets highlighted in red are what the district planned on completing before additional funding, and the streets highlighted in orange is the road works that will be done with the additional funding. (District of Kitimat photo)
$1.1 million allocated for road work this year in Kitimat

Kitimat council has added $470,000 for more work by deferring four other projects.

Hirsch Creek Golf Course Volunteer, Augie Penner, talking about how he continues the tradition, set by Joe Atamchuck, to catch and release fry that keep spawning at the course. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
VIDEO: Kitimat golf course volunteers making moves for the fishlings

During the highwater season, salmon are known to lay their eggs in the ponds at the golf course

Ocean Wise’s cetacean photogrammetry research program uses aerial images collected by boat-launched drones to measure the body condition of whales. (Ocean Wise Marine Mammal License MML-18 photo)
LNG Canada commits $750K to whale research, conservation initiative

Ocean Wise education team will work alongside educational and Indigenous leaders in the area

The Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre will be closed from June 28 until September 13 for annual facility maintenance as well as teach pool and decking repairs. (Black Press photo)
Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre closed: June 28 – September 13

The aquatic centre will be closed for annual facility maintenance

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read