The U.S. Congress has passed a new law—the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act—allowing large cruise ships to sail in Alaska this summer. The legislation temporarily relieves cruise ships sailing in Alaska of the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) restrictions for as long as Canada’s cruise ban is in place. The law, which will allow large cruise ships to take passengers between the states of Washington and Alaska, passed unanimously in the Senate last week, and President Biden is expected to sign it.
“We look forward to seeing President Biden sign this legislation and are deeply grateful to the entire U.S. Congress, but especially to our advocates, Alaska’s senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young,” said Alaska Travel Industry Association president and CEO Sarah Leonard in a statement. “This legislation is literally a lifeline for so many of Alaska’s small businesses that were struggling, and it means jobs for more Alaskans this summer.”
Cruise lines, such as Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Disney, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and others, bring more than half of Alaska’s annual visitors in a typical year. Several of these lines could begin offering cruises in mid-July, following the Center for Disease Control’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order. Alaska’s cruise season runs through September.
“We know so many travelers associate cruising with an Alaska vacation. We welcome cruisers and independent travelers alike,” Leonard said. “Alaska has so much to offer visitors seeking wide-open spaces, outdoor adventures and cultural stories—experiences that many travelers are looking for this summer.”