Cruising Returns to Alaska Beginning This July
(Latest Update: June 11, 2021) Cruise line brands including Carnival Corporation’s Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean Group's Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International, and Norwegian Cruise Line have all officially announced that they will return to service in Alaska this July or August with sailings departing from Seattle. This decision is based on recent guidelines from the CDC, as well as collaboration with Alaskan officials.
Carnival Corporation's Return to Alaska
Princess Cruises, Holland America, and Carnival will resume guest operations for a partial season in Alaska with one ship sailing roundtrip from Seattle. For all lines, these Alaska cruises are available for guests who have received their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination. Crew vaccinations will be in accordance with CDC guidelines.
"We are excited to once again serve our guests from the U.S., and we express our deep gratitude to all national, state and local officials who have worked collaboratively with us, the CDC and our entire industry to make this possible. It is great news for cruising, for travelers ready to again explore the world and for all the communities in Alaska that depend on cruising and have suffered great hardships over the past year," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "As one of America's natural treasures, Alaska is a land of beauty and wonder, and one of the most popular destinations for our guests. We look forward to our brands restarting this summer from the U.S. while also supporting our longtime partners and the communities in Alaska."
Princess Cruises will offer cruises in Alaska starting July 25 through September 26, with seven-day cruises onboard Majestic Princess. Cruises will visit signature ports, glaciers and attractions in Alaska including Glacier Bay National Park, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. As a result of Princess' vaccine requirements, the line has decided to not sail with unvaccinated children on Alaska cruises for Majestic Princess when she resumes July 25, 2021.
Holland America Line will resume its cruise operations to Alaska with seven-day itineraries aboard Nieuw Amsterdam, stopping in Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Sitka and Ketchikan, and cruising in Glacier Bay and Stephens Passage. The first cruise for the brand is scheduled to depart July 24, with 11 Saturday departures that will operate through October 2, 2021.
Carnival Cruise Line will offer 7-night sailings from Seattle beginning July 27, with weekly departures through September 14 on the Carnival Miracle. Ports of call will include Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, as well as scenic cruising in Tracy Arm Fjord. According to the line, Alaska cruises are available only for guests who have received their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination. This vaccination requirement applies only to Alaska itineraries.
According to an official announcement from Carnival Corporation, the Alaska itineraries fulfill all obligations under the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) and are expected to be approved. Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Line are each continuing the return-to-cruising preparation already underway.
Carnival Corporation and its brands continue to work with the CDC and official authorities on protocol for cruising to resume out of U.S. ports. Each of its brands will provide guests with detailed information about protocols in place at the time of departure, as full details continue to be updated in collaboration with medical and science experts and government authorities. Carnival has successfully resumed cruising with two of its brands in Europe AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises.
Royal Caribbean Group's Return to Alaska
Following a year-long absence, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises will sail to the Last Frontier once again beginning this July. According to a joint announcement from Royal Caribbean Group, both lines will sail roundtrip from Seattle to destinations including Juneau, Sitka, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Icy Straight Point, as well as cruise the Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier.
Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas will sail roundtrip from Seattle starting July 19 for 7 night Alaska itineraries, and Ovation of the Seas will resume on August 13, 2021. Celebrity will resume Alaska sailings on the Celebrity Summit offering seven-night itineraries roundtrip from Seattle making stops at Ketchikan, Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier, Juneau, and Skagway.
“We are so pleased that Congress unanimously voted to pass legislation enabling cruise ships to sail to Alaska this season, said Richard D. Fain, Royal Caribbean Group chairman and CEO. “We are thrilled Alaskans will be able to welcome cruise visitors this year knowing how important the tourism industry is to the economy and the communities we visit. It’s been a tough year for everyone, but people clearly have pent-up demand to cruise again, and we can’t wait to get back to what we do best, delivering world-class vacations to our guests. Our immense gratitude goes to Senators Murkowski and Sullivan and Congressman Young along with Governor Dunleavey, and the Alaska State Legislature for making this reality happen.”
All sailings will depart with a vaccinated crew and everyone over the age of 16 must be vaccinated; as of August 1, 2021, all US guests ages 12 and older must be fully vaccinated. Guests traveling with both lines can expect a set of a comprehensive set of measures developed in collaboration with the group's Healthy Sail Panel, the CDC, and government authorities around the world. Additional details to come on these protocols once all plans are finalized.
Norwegian Cruise Line Returns to Alaska in August
Norwegian Cruise Line will once again begin sailing in Alaska starting August 7 with week-long voyages from Seattle on the Norwegian Bliss. These cruises will run through October 16, visiting Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Icy Strait Point, Alaska. On select sailings, guests will also visit the Glacier Bay National Park or the Holkham Bay Glacier Fjord.
"Seattle has always been our second home, and we are beyond excited to return to this incredible homeport and to once again bring our guests to Alaska," said Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. "Twenty-one years ago, we were the first to offer itineraries to Alaska from Seattle, and we continue to celebrate a strong relationship with our partners in this spectacular destination. We have been waiting for a very long time to announce a resumption of cruising from the U.S. We are so proud to be sailing for the first time in over a year from our special homeport of Seattle to the breathtaking state of Alaska."
These Alaska sailings will follow Norwegian's SailSAFE Health and Safety program guidelines which include vaccine requirements for guests and crew, COVID testing, enhanced health screening protocol, and additional onboard safety measures.
This is a breaking news story. We will continue to update as information is available.
For more details on Cruise Line vaccination requirements, please visit: What We Know: Which Cruise Lines Will Require A COVID-19 Vaccine for Passengers and Crew?