Transport Canada on Thursday 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.
The extension, according to Transport Canada, was done as “cruise vessels in Canadian waters pose a risk to our health care systems.”
“As Canadians continue to do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, our government continues to work hard to ensure Canada’s transportation system remains safe. Temporary prohibitions to cruise vessels and pleasure craft are essential to continue to protect the most vulnerable among our communities and avoid overwhelming our health care systems. This is the right and responsible thing to do,” Canada’s Minister of Transport Omar Alhabra said in a statement announcing the news.
Only cruise ships certified to carry 100 or fewer people will have the opportunity to sail in Canadian waters in the meantime, and those will have to make sure they are allowed to sail by provincial and local governments and health authorities.
The order could be rescinded if the health environment changes in Canada and Transport Canada, along with the government, decides its safe to sail, but if the order stays in place, it ends hopes of a 2021 cruise season in Canada, and impacts a lot of other sailings out of U.S. ports, including Alaska sailings and those Canada and New England sailings, depending on how cruise lines can respond to the order.
TMR has reached out to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) for comment.