The United States is temporarily overriding the Passenger Vessel Service Act and thus allowing cruises in Alaska for the summer and autumn of 2021. The new regulation indirectly removes the blockade of cruises that originated due to port closures in Canada.
According to the US Senate (s. 593) Now there is also the House of Representatives (HR 1318) Approved the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act, which temporarily suspends a Cruise Cabotage Act that has existed since 1886. The law now requires the signature of the US President, which is considered safe.
The Passenger Vessel Service Act (PVSA) – often confused with its cargo ship counterpart, the Jones Act – prohibits non-US ships from transporting passengers between two US ports unless an overseas port is called on the route is.
Cruises with departures in the US states of Alaska and Washington are now in and out until February 28, 2022 – that is, in fact for the summer and fall seasons 2021 in Alaska – as long as they start and end in the same port. For example, from Seattle in Washington to Seward in Alaska, one-way cruises are not possible.
Main problem: Canadian ports closed until February 28, 2022
However, since Canada is closing its ports for cruise ships by February 28, 2022, there would be no possibility of offering Alaska cruises from Seattle or Seward, for example, without the exception of PVSA which is now settled is. The new US law called the “Alaska Tourism Restoration Act” now suspends the PSVA for this purpose until February 28, 2022.
Large cruise lines whose ships hoist foreign flags such as Panama, Malta, Bermuda or the Bahamas are affected by PVSA regulations. Only very small cruise ships under the American flag, such as Uncruise Adventures or American Cruise Lines, will be able to sail to Alaska this summer.
Second hurdle: CDC’s conditional sailing order
Nevertheless, the path to Alaska cruises in the summer of 2021 is not completely clear right now. Because shipping companies still have to meet the conditions of the US Health Authority CDC’s conditional selling order. The rules have recently been relaxed and the process has been speeded up. But no shipping company has yet approved the CDC for actual cruise operations with passengers from US ports.
Most shipping companies had suspended bookings for Alaska cruises in recent months, but had yet to cancel the voyages as a precaution, in anticipation of an agreement with the CDC and exception legislation to the Passenger Ship Service Act. At least the latter barrier has now been removed.
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