On Thursday, Transport Canada announced that it was moving to extend the country’s cruise ship ban, scheduled to end later this month, more than a year to Feb. 28, 2022.
The move, which was announced in full here, means that cruise sailings carrying 100 people or more out of Canadian ports and those traveling through Canadian waters, including Alaska sailings out of Seattle or Canada and New England sailings, will not be able to operate until March 2022 at the earliest.
Also on Thursday night, Cruise Lines International Association for North West & Canada (CLIA-NWS), which calls itself the voice of the cruise industry in Canada, issued a statement reacting to the news, explaining that it was “surprised” by the length of the extension.
“While we understand and support the government’s focus on combating COVID-19 in Canada, we are surprised by the length of the extension of the prohibition of cruise,” said Charlie Ball, Chair of CLIA-NWC.
“We hope to have an opportunity to revisit this timeline and demonstrate our ability to address COVID-19 in a cruise setting with science-backed measures, as CLIA members are doing in Europe and parts of Asia where cruising has resumed on a limited basis,” he added.
According to CLIA-NWS, should the ban remain in place through February 2022, which would mark an almost full two years without cruise activity in Canada, 29,000 Canadian jobs will be in jeopardy, along with $4.25 billion in economic activity, which were the high marks from 2019.
The news wouldn’t strictly impact Canada, either, as many of the most popular North American itineraries as a whole, including Canada and New England and Alaska, would be effectively stopped through February 2022.
“We stand ready to work with Canadian health and transportation officials to operationalize a path forward,” Ball said.
CLIA and its member lines have already been able to successful restart some sailings outside of North America, including in the Mediterranean where MSC Cruises has been able to safely more than 30,000 guests since its August restart, even with a holiday-pause imposed by the Italian government, a major milestone for the line and for the cruise industry.
According to CLIA, since the beginning of July 2020, there have been over 200 sailings in Europe (and parts of Asia) with enhanced measures in place and approval from authorities in those regions.