Alaskas 2021 Cruise Season Looks To Be Back On
Courtesy of Holland America Line
Holland America Line is one of several cruise lines that has already opened up bookings for Alaska sailings this summer.
New legislation offers significant hope, and cruise lines are already announcing plans to begin sailings in July.
Alaska officials have been heavily pushing for a return of cruising this summer. The U.S. Congress has heard the call and by unanimous consent has now given the green light to a bill that could make that dream a reality. Assuming President Joe Biden signs the bill into law, cruises could start bringing thousands of passengers to Alaska on a weekly basis beginning in July.
The legislation approved by Congress on May 20 temporarily waives the Passenger Vessel Services Act allowing cruise ships sailing from Seattle to bypass Canada. The PVSA, which dates to the 1880s, is a law that otherwise requires foreign-flagged ships sailing from the United States to visit another country before returning to the U.S. The majority of larger cruise lines operate foreign-flagged ships. So, in order to be able to sail in Alaska, they need to also make port stops in Canada. Therein lies the problem: Canada has banned larger cruise ships from sailing until February 2022 due to the pandemic, thus big ship cruising in Alaska has been effectively off the table for 2021 as welluntil now.
It remains to be seen whether some of the more boutique luxury cruise lines will announce Alaska itineraries in the coming days and weeks, too.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Alaska To Avoid Crowds
Shoulder season is also the best time to go on an Alaska cruise if you prefer fewer crowds while exploring the historical and cultural aspects of Alaskan cities and towns.
Shore excursions are easier to book, so take full advantage of roomier whale-watching cruises and less crowded restaurants.
Schools are still in session in May and September, so fewer families are traveling. Also, many cruise passengers prefer to travel to Alaska in the warmer weather, so crowds on both sea and land tend to thin out.
What Are The Best Months For Wildlife & Activities
Spotting wildlife is always unpredictable in Alaska, but your best bet of getting pics of wildlife ashore is probably late May and early June, when mothers and their calves or cubs tend to be out and about. One exception: If you want to do a bear-watching shore excursion, prime bear season is not until late June or early July.
Denali: If you want to do a land tour that includes the national park, dont come during the May shoulder season. Denali National Park doesnt open up until early June.
Want to fish ashore? Fishing is good during any monththere are just different species of salmon that peak as the weeks go by.
Summer berry-picking on shore is best late in August or early September.
If you want to see fall foliage ashore, wait until the first week of September. It remains good through the third week of September.
Hate mosquitoes? If youre doing a land tour, come during either shoulder season
See a full calendar of Alaskas natural events.
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Us Senate Aims To Restart Alaska Cruises At A Cost To Canada
News that the cruise ships may be coming landed in Jeff Bradys small coastal town like a life raft.
While the U.S. economy has been recovering from the pandemic, he and his neighbours in Skagway, Alaska, have been struggling just to stay afloat, with most businesses shuttered completely and others, like his bookshop, next to annihilated.
Ninety-five per cent of our income was lost, and were facing that again this year, he said. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel if we can get some ships here by the end of July.
A bill passed in the U.S. Senate this week is aimed at kick-starting a 2021 Alaska cruise season and it comes at a cost to Canada.
The reason for the sustained economic crisis in coastal Alaska towns like Skagway is cruise ships, or a lack thereof. The floating resorts, a mainstay from April to October each year, are the economic engines behind the scenic towns, and with cruises stopped for the coronavirus pandemic the communities sit in hibernation, collecting government support until the big boats return.
As vaccinations roll out and restrictions lift across the United States, one of the questions officials in that country have been working on is how to get cruises to Alaska up and running again.
The only problem was: Canada was in the way.
The possibility that Murkowskis legislation could be extended is a major concern to Canadian ports.
It is still a concern because anything can change over time, Robertson said.
Small Ship Alaska Cruises From Seattle
If it’s Small Ship Alaska cruises from Seattle you’re searching for, look no further than Lindblad Expeditions & National Geographic.
The Lindblad Expeditions Alaska Adventure cruises allow you to see, do, & learn more than any other cruise line.
Choose between a 14 or 15 day adventure cruise aboard their expedition ships, the National Geographic Quest or Venture. These small ships have access to many more places than a larger cruise ship, giving the feeling ofbeing on a private yacht.
With only 100 guests on board, you have almost limitless access to the expedition staff, naturalists, and seasoned crew.
Oceania Cruises has another Small Ship Alaska Cruise option – The Oceania Regatta offers an experience that’s close to luxury without being all-inclusive. With only 684 passengers on board, 5 Star Dining, & an excellent Spa, what could be better?!
And oh boy, do you have options! There are many Alaska cruises from Seattle options available for a luxury Alaska cruise on the Oceania Regatta:
Prices for a 7 day Cruise begins around $2,000 per person and goes up from there.
Don’t Miss: What To Do In Skagway Cruise Port
Featured September Cruises To Alaska
Increase your chances of seeing fall foliage on an Alaska Southbound Glacier Cruise itinerary that sails from Seward, Alaska down to British Columbia. The northern ports youll visit along the way may already be showing signs of autumn, and by beginning in Alaska, you can enjoy a couple of days before your embarks to explore on land when the first signs of the impending Alaskan winter are just starting to show.
Norwegian Cruise Ship Arrives In Seattle Ahead Of Alaska Restart
Norwegian Encore arrives in Seattle, Washington in preparation for restarting cruises to Alaska in early August.
The first cruise ships are arriving in their homeport of Seattle ahead of the Alaska season today marked the arrival of Norwegian Encore. Norwegian Cruise Line plans to start operations with its largest vessel by August 7 if all goes to plan.
The run-up to the restart for Norwegian Cruise Line has been a bumpy one. Despite efforts from the cruise line to start cruises in the Caribbean and from the United States, Encore will be the first vessel to start sailings for the Miami-based cruise line in the one place many did not expect to be featured this year.
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Uncruise Will Start Alaska Season This Week
Over the weekend UnCruise Adventures quickly modified three Pacific Northwest sailings after Washington State COVID protocols affected departure dates from Seattle. In place of a cancellation the company offered guests an alternative itinerary out of Juneau, covering guest airfare and hotels.
When recent changes were made affecting our Seattle departures, I knew I could not disappoint our guests with another cancellation. Some of our guests have been waiting on this cruise for two or three years, shares the companys CEO, Dan Blanchard. It makes me proud to see my team jump into action and ready to do what it takes to make this year one of the biggest comebacks weve ever had.
May 7th will kick off the companys first full sailing out of Juneau with even more adventure in Glacier Bay National Park. The full Alaska season will include six adventure itineraries of 22-86 guests, led by a fully vaccinated crew. The companys recent policy requires all guests to provide proof of vaccination to embark on their adventure to the Great Land.
We understand the importance of cruise lines in the Alaska economy and a return to sailing to the future of my company, shares Blanchard. Vaccinations are on the rise and data has shown that Alaska has outperformed other states during the pandemic. There is hope on the horizon, and Alaska is wide open for us this season.
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As Florida Waits Alaska Cruises On Tap As Early As July With Expected Cdc Approval
Cruise lines have been rolling out their itineraries to try to squeeze in a few months of the traditional summer season of sailing Alaska, but the companies still await final approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and one presidents signature.
The announcements include plans to sail with fully vaccinated passengers from Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America and Princess Cruises.
Cruise lines needed two things for this to happen. First, the federal government had to bend the rules to allow foreign-registered vessels to sail from U.S. ports without having to also visit a foreign port. Most cruise lines are registered to other countries like Panama or the Bahamas.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced at a press conference Monday that President Joe Biden will sign the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act, which waives that requirement, and would allow ships to sail out of places like Seattle and up to Alaska without having to make a stop in Canada. Canada has a cruise ship ban in place until February 2022.
This law will allow large cruise ships to visit Alaska this year, a critical step to returning to normal in a state where one in 10 jobs is in the tourism industry, Psaki said.
Both the House and Senate passed the bill and sent it the presidents way last Thursday.
The Alaska window, though, has cruise executives ready to take advantage of what they can.
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Alaska Is Americas Last Frontier Experience The Rugged Adventure In Comfort And Style With A Variety Of Cruise Lines
Alaska cruises and cruise tours are the ideal way to experience the legendary history of the 49th state. The historic charm and frontier spirit are felt in the Inside Passage and in picturesque ports of call, such as Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Sitka. Alaska is also renowned for its magnificent wildlife, whale migrations, exceptional scenery, dramatic glaciers, and iconic natural wonders, such as Mount McKinley and Denali National Park. With departures and arrivals available from Seattle or Vancouver, youre sure to find an adventure that suits you.
Holding Our Breath: What Does The 2021 Alaska Cruise Season Look Like So Far
All major cruise lines have pushed back their overall North American restart dates through at least April 30, 2021, which has, in effect, also pushed back the beginning of the Alaska cruise season.
Lines that have specifically mentioned further alterations to their Alaska plans include Cunard and Seabourn, both of which canceled their 2021 seasons completely Disney, which won’t begin its Alaska voyages until mid-May Royal Caribbean, which pulled Quantum of the Seas from the region for all of 2021 Carnival, which has yanked Carnival Miracle for the duration of the season and Holland America and Princess, which have scrapped some cruises there as far out as June, including all of the ones that leave from or finish in Canadian ports and all sailings departing from Seattle.
Additionally, Holland America and Princess Cruises — both of which own land-based resorts and are known for offering pre- and post-cruise tours in the region — are now offering land-based vacations that will utilize the lines’ connections in places like Denali National Park.
Although they have not yet canceled the sailings, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises have removed bookable Alaska and Canada/New England voyages from their websites.
Barring a change in Canada’s no-sail order or a temporary waiver of the PVSA by the U.S. Government, ships that are not registered in the U.S. , lines will be forced to cancel 2021 Alaska sailings in their entirety.
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Plan Your Alaskan Cruise With Windstar
Now that you know the best time to take an Alaskan cruise, its time to make it happen! Why not turn your dreams into reality with us at Windstar Cruises? Connect with fellow travelers and the crew as you sail the Alaskan waters on our intimate cruises. Our smaller ships give us access to ports the other ships cant reach, meaning you get a unique experience and opportunities you couldnt anywhere else.
Take a look at the Alaskan cruises we offer to see what will take you on the adventure of a lifetime. Well take you on guided fishing trips, through scenic forests and close to legendary fjords and glaciers for the Alaskan trip of a lifetime. Plan your voyage today by calling us at 800-258-7245 or requesting a call. We cant wait to have you aboard a Windstar Cruise!
Further Changes Are Possible
The situation worldwide is changing weekly, and cruise lines are working with the relevant authorities for a safe return. Its all very fluid, and the restart dates may change even further. The CDC has been making some adjustments recently with relaxing masks and social distancing rules for vaccinated guests.
Norwegian Cruise Line still plans to restart in August from Florida but parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings recently filed a lawsuit against Florida on the states vaccine passport ban. The result of this could have an impact on any protocols the line implements.
The ongoing saga between the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Florida has still not been resolved. In fact, just recently, the CDC successfully got a hold on Florida being allowed to overrule its Conditional Sailing Order. On July 19, the Florida Governor said it will come out on top and could take its lawsuit against the CDC as far as the supreme court.
Cruise Hive will continue to monitor any new developments, so keep checking this detailed page for when cruises resume, not just this year but in 2022.
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Insider Tips For Alaska Cruises
Transfer day is a sightseeing day The trip between Whittier or Seward and Anchorage travels one of the most scenic stretches of road in the state. Youll cross the mountains and follow the coast of Turnagain Arm. Transfers are typically by motorcoach, private shuttle or train, but this is far more than getting from A to B. Keep your camera at the ready, and dont be surprised if you spot wildlife and incredible natural landscapes along the way.
Day cruises get even closer to glaciers Its worth adding a day cruise either in Prince William Sound or Resurrection Bay/Kenai Fjords. These nimble vessels are able to slip into smaller spaces than the big ships, better navigate to sea lion haulouts, bird nesting areas and whale watching hot spots in the moment, and get closer to glaciers and then linger in silence. These incredible sights also makes day cruises a great option for independent travelers as well. If spending nights aboard a ship doesnt appeal to you, day cruises are a great way to sample the marine ecosystem and keep the start of each day on solid ground.
Anchorage as flightseeing capital Anchorage isnt just the spot to catch the flight into or out of Alaska. With a huge concentration of pilots and small aircraft, its also a prime spot for sightseeing tours by air. Flights from Merrill Field or Lake Hood in Anchorage take off for glaciers in the nearby Chugach Mountains, the waters of Prince William Sound, or even circle Denali by air.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages
The British-based cruise line has extended its hold on cruises through August 25, 2020. This is due to the lockdown still being in place in many countries along with port closures. Read the details here.
Update 1: The cruise line has gone unto administration and will likely no longer continue its business. As of now, all cruises are canceled permanently. More details about this are here.
- Cruises Resume: Never
- Official Advisory:
Heres When Alaska Cruises From Seattle Will Start Again And Which Lines Will Resume
A cruise ship seen off Alki Beach on Sunday, May 12, 2019 in West Seattle. Several cruise lines plan to resume cruises between Seattle and Alaska as early as July. TNS
Cruises from Seattle to Alaska are set to return this summer after federal lawmakers cleared the way for sailings that have been on hold since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
The move signals the return of a significant slice of downtown Seattles economy, where some waterfront businesses plan staffing around the cruise schedule. But significant questions remain about exact safety protocols the cruise lines will enforce.
Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Line said Thursday they would resume cruising to Alaska for a partial season starting in July for passengers who have proof of vaccination.
Princess Cruises will sail seven-day cruises from July 25 through Sept. 26. Sales will begin on May 21.
Holland America Line will resume seven-day cruises to depart on Saturdays from July 24 through Oct. 2.
Carnival will depart weekly from July 27 to Sept. 14. Most trips will be seven-day cruises, with one eight-day trip that has one additional stop.
Norwegian Cruise Line has also started selling tickets for August sailings from Seattle to Alaska, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Proof of vaccination will be required, the companies said Thursday. Decisions about masks, social distancing and precise quarantine procedures are still to come.