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Green Light for Cruise Ships en Route to Alaska

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5 cruise lines to operate under strict protocols.

The big news of the week that concluded was that cruise ships can now legally sail in Alaska thanks to the "Alaska Tourism Restoration Act being passed by the U.S. Senate" and will now go to President Joe Biden to go into effect.

The downside of this announcement is that cruise lines must still comply with guidelines set for restarting activity by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With the passage of the bill, introduced by Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, cruise ships can now sail from Seattle to 2021 ports without the requirement to call in Canada.

The bill was approved by senators in a unanimous vote. This legislation includes a temporary extension of the Passenger Vessel Service Act that requires foreign-flagged ships to call at a foreign country when traveling between U.S. ports. The 135-year-old law was a protectionist measure designed to protect U.S. ports and shipbuilding from foreign competition. Following the announcement, several shipping lines have announced their first Alaska cruises this summer. SHIPPING LINES PLAN TO RETURN IN JULY Carnival Corporation expects three of its cruise lines, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line, to return to U.S. service beginning in July with Alaska sailings from the homeport of Seattle. Each of the cruise lines will put into service beginning in July a ship with roundtrip departures from Seattle that will require passengers to be fully vaccinated.

Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation said, "We are thrilled to once again be able to serve our U.S. guests and express our deep appreciation to all the national, state and local officials who have worked collaboratively with us, the CDC and our entire industry to make this happen. And, he added, "This is great news for all cruisers, for travelers ready to explore the world, and for all the communities in Alaska that depend on cruising and have suffered great hardship over the past year." Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Carnival Cruise Line are working to prepare for the return to service in Alaska again according to the press release itself. These Alaska itineraries are available to passengers who have received their final dose of an approved covid-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the start of the cruise and have proof of vaccination.