Canada Releases 2022 Cruise Requirements.

Canadian guidelines for the restart of cruising in 2022 will require that all passengers regardless of age as well as all crew members be vaccinated. This creates a potential obstacle for several cruise lines set to sail to Alaska in the 2022 May-September Alaska cruise season.

The guidelines set forth by Canada are must stricter than those developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These are the guidelines being followed by most major cruise lines.

The CDC’s current guidelines considers ships with at least 95% of passengers and crew with two initial doses as “highly vaccinated” while ships with 95% of passengers and crew with two doses plus a booster shot deemed “standard of excellence” ships.

For ships not meeting the above criteria, they are labeled “not highly vaccinated.”

The CDC has also clarified that children under the age of 5 will not be included in the percentage calculations regarding vaccination status.

Canada’s guidance, however, states that cruise lines should “ensure that all crew members and travellers will be assessed to confirm that they have completed an appropriate COVID-19 immunization series at least 14 days prior to onboarding.” These guidelines are set forth for ALL passengers regardless of age and does not include an exemption for children under the age of 5.

Related: Royal Caribbean International Offers Support to Ukranian Crew

In 2021, following a completely canceled 2020 Alaskan cruise season which left many Alaskans who rely heavily on tourism for their income scurrying for answers, a shortened cruise season was allowed after the U.S. passed a law to temporarily allow ships to skip mandatory stops in Canada on Alaska cruises.

More than half of Alaska’s tourism comes from cruise ships annually according to Resource Development Council for Alaska. Without cruise ships, the tourism economy is Alaska and the people who rely on are greatly suffering.

Related: New Disney Cruise Line Sailings From San Diego

Alaskan politicians in Washington are again proposing legislation that would allow cruise ships to bypass Canada by Furthermore, Congressional representatives from Alaska have already introduced legislation by extending the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act (ATRA), which permitted cruise ships to bypass Canada in 2021.

“Alaska’s economy and our communities should not be at the mercy of decisions made by the Canadian government and I will do whatever is needed to ensure Alaskans can prosper,” said U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski in a February 18 press statement.

The start of the Alaska cruise season is only two months away which means that Congress must act quickly. Not something they do frequently.

***(Guidelines were updated on March 7 for children under the age of 12 and those with medical exemptions to be exempt from the mandatory vaccine requirements). ***

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

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