Bill to Allow Ships to Sail to Alaska Without Stopping in Canada Passes in Both House and Senate

Anchorage, Alaska - Photo by Canva

(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. 


Senator Murkowski also took to social media to react to the news of the bill passing in the Senate on May 13. 


The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) congratulated Senators Murkowski and Sullivan on the passing of the legislation. 


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. 

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Posted by macnicol

I understand the CDC's role relative to Disease Control information and prevention directives, but what law or regulation gave it CONTROL over what we can do or not do. What law gave it CONTROL over the international cruise ship industry? What law gave it CONTROL over who can take any form of transportation? Does the CDC regulate and control who can stay at a land-based resort or at a hotel for as long as one wants. Does the CDC inspect resorts and hotels, especially the food processing areas? More people get sick from these establishments than from cruise ships. The biased news media and the CDC exaggerate any cruise ship medical situation. Cruise ships were NOT the cause of the Covid-19 pandemic or its spread from Wuhan China.

Posted by Lazyboy

In the 1970's the CDC was given the task of ensuring that certain health and sanitary levels (desperately needed) were meet on cruise ships and most, if not all, of the lines apparently agreed to it in an attempt to keep customers safe and wanting to come back. In the mid 1980's the CDC backed out of some the actions but public and industry complaints to Congress lead to what we have today. Unfortunately, those who wanted the CDC inspections did not realize that a pandemic like the Covid could become a media/political circus, and the CDC used the power granted by Congress to do the no sail order - a knee jerk reaction due to media hype and now now we have the "loss of face" politics going on. What is sad, my wife and I caught Covid in November/December of 2019, which at the time the doctors thought was just some severe viral infection going around. I think I caught it from assisting Chinese nationals (so said the interpreter) who were buying up all the masks at our store, yet the cruise ships took the blame for bringing the virus to the US. So, in summary, the yes the CDC had the mandate to do a no-sail order, however it has apparently gone past that and is now more of a political face saving effort instead of an attempt to get things moving.

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