We’ve got an update on North American cruising and it’s not good news.
The public health emergency declared by the CDC has been in place for more than a year and it was set to expire on April 21. Cruise lines were depending on this and a few other factors in order to start the process of getting back to business. Well, the CDC just renewed it.
So, what does that mean for cruising? Nothing good.
Let’s jump into an update for all things North American cruising.
Alaska Governor Michael Dunleavy held a press conference earlier this week. He said tourism is struggling which of course we knew and they are allotting federal money they are receiving to help the tourism industry. One of the primary ways Alaska gets tourists is through cruising. With cruising all but canceled for a second straight year, Alaska and those in Alaska who rely on the tourism for their livlihoods are facing unprecedented struggles.
With cruising shut down in Canada and Canada announcing earlier this year that no ships could dock in Canadian ports that destroyed hopes for a cruise season in Alaska. The Jones Act also refered to as the Passenger Services Act prohibits ships of Non-U.S registry from embarking and debarking guests at two different U.S ports. It essentially means that all cruises to and from Alaska stop at some point in a Canadian port.
This completely outdated leglslation was passed back in 1920 and the Governor of Alaska has been pleading with the American governement to even temporarily repeal the act for the 2021 season. That has clearly not come to fruition. In addition, cruise lines and states and areas that rely heavily on cruise tourism for revenue has been begging the U.S. government for help and guidelines in recent months.
Alaska has beein in open communication with the cruise lines who sail to their state recently and according to the governor they have just days, not weeks, days before cruise lines make a decision to wait and see if they can sail to Alaska for a limited season or if they should redeploy their ships elsewhere. The loss of cruising would be devastating to Alaska. If there is nothing done to help Alaska the Governeor has said he would join in the suit with Florida to sue the CDC for damages.
Cruise lines and affected port cities have been very vocal in their asks for guidance as to how to safely resume business with little to no luck. The cruise industry is actually one of the only industries that have not been given guidelines or timelines for when they can resume.
PHE.gov is where you can see all of the latest information about Public Health Emergency Declarations.
The emergency declaration mentioned above was set to expire on April 21 but was renewed on April 15. The big ramification for that was that one of the three ways that the conditional sail order would be lifted would be if this declation were to expire. Thie declaration was renewed for 90 additional days which would put it at the end of July.
The hope of cruise lines was to begin sailings from US ports at the beginning of July and that appears to be off the table with this extension of the CDC health emergency.
The end of the Alaska sailing season is mid to end of September. With the declaration being renewed to the end of July that leaves only two short months for any sailings. Meaning it is highly likely a second season is lost.
If you are interested in helping out some small Alaskan businesses that typically rely on cruise tourism to stay afloat you can visit Shop49.com a website set up by our friends, local Alaskan YouTubers LeggLife. Shop 49th is a great organization highlighting local Alaskan businesses that you can support from anywhere.
We hope to get back to cruising soon. Until then, stay tuned right here to For Love of the Mouse for more information as it becomes available.