At a private signing ceremony in the Oval Office at noon Eastern Time, President Joe Biden signed the bill that allows cruise ships to return to Southeast Alaska without stopping in Canada, which has banned cruise ships for the second year due to concerns about Covid-19.
The Alaska Tourism Recovery Act raced through Congress with the help of Alaska’s delegation and governor. Congressman Don Young, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and Sen. Dan Sullivan played important roles in overcoming hurdles that many said were unsurmountable.
Biden’s signature was not unexpected, and cruise companies had already started publishing their schedules for Southeast Alaska.
Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Carnival Cruise Line are planning to operate one ship per line for a short season in Alaska that will begin the third week of July.
The cruises will be available for those guests with a final dose of an approved Covid-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the sailing. Crews will be vaccinated, and the goal is to have a 95 percent vaccination rate onboard.
From July 25 through Sept. 26, Princess Cruises will operate the Majestic Princess on seven-day itineraries visiting signature ports, glaciers and attractions including Glacier By National Park, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan.
Holland America Line will have seven-day sailings onboard Nieuw Amsterdam – with port calls in Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Sitka, and Ketchikan, with Glacier Bay included. The first departure is scheduled for July 24, and the ship will have 10 departures from Seattle through Oct. 2.
Carnival Cruise Line will have departures from Seattle starting July 27, through Sept. 14. The Carnival Miracle7-day cruises will stop in Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, and include Tracy Arm.
Norwegian Cruise Lines is selling four Seattle-based sailings on the Norwegian Blisss, starting Saturday, Aug. 7 and with the final sailing on Sept. 4.