Canada Opens to Cruise Ships in November 2021

A ship docked at the Port of Vancouver. - Photo by Canva

In a surprising move today, the Canadian Government announced that it will rescind the cruise ship ban to its ports as of November 1, 2021, provided that cruise operators meet the country’s public-health conditions which have still yet to be determined. 

The cruise ship ban was originally set to expire in February 2022. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said, "we will welcome cruise ships - an important part of our tourism sector - back in Canadian waters for the 2022 season." 

Alghabra additionally stated he didn’t know when the border between the U.S. and Canada would officially reopen to tourists.  Given the news of cruises being allowed to Canadian ports as of November, the border reopening will likely coincide with cruise operations resuming. 

While many details are still unclear, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that additional announcements and next steps to reopening the border will be forthcoming in the near future.

Cruise ships are a vital part of Canada’s economy contributing to more than $4 billion a year and employing 30,000 people. With the 2020 and 2021 cruise ship seasons being lost, many businesses and families have been severely impacted. Mounting pressure to bring back cruising has reached a fever pitch in recent weeks, so making the announcement now to ensure cruise lines have ample time to meet the Canadian requirements for the 2022 season is perfect timing. “As Canadians have done their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, our government continues to work hard to safely restart our economy and build back better,” Alghabra said. “We will welcome cruise ships — an important part of our tourism sector — back in Canadian waters for the 2022 season.”

Andrew Dixon, chair of the Association of Canadian Port Authorities' Cruise Committee and SVP of trade and business development for Port Saint John said this is “great news for all of the businesses that rely upon cruise tourism revenues, and we have more than enough time now to plan for the safe resumption of this industry in collaboration with all of our business partners. This is another bright light of recovery as we look forward to 2022.”

The Canadian Government continues to advise residents to avoid all cruise ship travel. Given the announcement today to resume cruising in November, it feels like the green light to recovery has taken its first step. This should give cruise lines and passengers alike confidence in the 2022 cruise season both in Alaska as well as Eastern Canada. 

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