Bill to Allow Ships to Sail to Alaska Without Stopping in Canada Passes in Both House and Senate
(Updated May 20, 2021)
The Senate and House of Representatives have officially both passed the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act (H.R. 1318). This legislation would allow for foreign-flagged cruise ships to sail to Alaska without having to make a stop in Canada. The bill was introduced by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) in the Senate and Representative Don Young (R-Alaska) in the House. The legislation will now move on to President Joe Biden for signature.
Canada currently has a ban in place through February 28, 2022, for all cruise vessels carrying over 100 passengers. The Alaska Tourism Recovery act would temporarily exempt large Alaska-bound cruise ships from the Passenger Vessel Services Act (Jones Act), which requires ships to either make a port stop in Canada or embark in Canada. If the bill is passed, this exemption would expire in February 2022 when Canada’s ban expires.
Representative Young broke the news of the bill's passing in the House on Twitter.
🚨BREAKING🚨— Rep. Don Young (@repdonyoung) May 20, 2021
H.R. 1318, my bill w/@lisamurkowski & @SenDanSullivan has passed! Cruise lines will no longer be required to first stop in Canada before setting sail to Alaska!
They counted us out, but the Alaska Delegation should NEVER be under estimated.
🛳️Next stop: @POTUS!🛳️ pic.twitter.com/d1Wldng1O8
Senator Murkowski also took to social media to react to the news of the bill passing in the Senate on May 13.
The Senate passed the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act (ATRA), my bill w/ @SenDanSullivan to provide a way for cruise ships to bring passengers to Alaska, despite the Canadian prohibition on passenger vessels traveling through Canadian waters en route to AK. https://t.co/bDqwOMZQkn— Sen. Lisa Murkowski (@lisamurkowski) May 14, 2021
The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) congratulated Senators Murkowski and Sullivan on the passing of the legislation.
Congratulations to Senators @LisaMurkowski and @SenDanSullivan for passing PVSA waiver legislation in the U.S. Senate today, and for all their efforts to help save the Alaska cruise season. Our members hope to return this summer and to help put Alaskan communities back to work. pic.twitter.com/OX3tRrLgZl— Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) (@CLIAGlobal) May 13, 2021
Cruise Lines are currently in Phases 2B and 3 of the CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order. This phase encompasses the guidelines for simulated volunteer test cruises prior to lines resuming passenger sailings in the United States. The CDC has announced that vaccinated passengers will have relaxed mask-wearing guidelines and shore excursion rules.