With authorities in Canada confirming the relaxation of pandemic-related travel restrictions, cruise lines are reacting to the positive news and eager to welcome guests at Canadian homeports and to help travelers explore Canadian ports of call.
Canada Relaxes Restrictions
The Canadian government announced on Monday, September 26, that all COVID-related travel protocols, including vaccination and testing requirements, isolation and quarantine plans, use of the ArriveCan app, and mask wearing on planes and trains will end as of October 1.
This is great news for travelers who will now be able to move in and out of Canada, including to cruise ports whether as a homeport or visiting during a cruise, without additional paperwork, testing arrangements to make, or restrictions based on vaccination status.
Cruise Lines Welcome News
Various cruise lines with a strong presence in Canadian cruising, either for the summer Alaska season or offering seasonal foliage cruises and other itineraries, have happily embraced the news and are looking forward to increased bookings in the region.
“We applaud these decisions by Transport Canada to make visiting the country easier and more convenient for all guests sailing our popular Alaska and Canada/New England itineraries, and look forward to welcoming everyone,” said John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises.
“Alaska and Canadian cruises are among the most desired vacation options in the world, and we look forward to welcoming everyone who’s waited the past three years for this market to fully open.”
All of Princess Cruises’ Alaskan itineraries feature Canadian ports of call, including multiple ships departing from Vancouver, British Columbia. In 2023, Grand Princess, Sapphire Princess, Royal Princess, Majestic Princess, and Crown Princess are all offering Vancouver departures.
Holland America Line is also well known for a strong presence in Canada, and is equally enthusiastic about the protocol relaxation and the opportunity to welcome even more guests onboard for spectacular sailings to the Great White North.
“This is a win for the cruise industry and for our guests, as we are seeing growing interest for booking 2023 cruises to Alaska and Canada/New England,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line.
“It’s a positive step that puts health protocols for our Canada and Alaska cruises more in line with most of our other global cruises. We thank Transport Canada for taking action that will continue to protect the health of travelers while also making it easier for them to book a cruise that allows us to support the local economy.”
Holland America Line not only offers a broad spectrum of Alaska and Canada sailings, but is an industry leader in cruise extensions in Canada, giving guests the opportunity to extend their getaway with land-based “cruisetours” for more in-depth exploration.
In addition to cruise line’s individual reactions, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry trade association with more than 25 member cruise lines, has also expressed its support for the relaxation and credits the effectiveness of the industry’s protocols for helping this step be possible.
“We thank all of our members and partners across the wider cruise community for their unwavering support of the industry’s responsible resumption of operations,” a statement from CLIA read. “This has allowed us to make tremendous progress toward returning 30,000 jobs and more than $4 billion in economic activity generated by the cruise industry across Canada prior to 2020.”
What This Means for 2022 Cruising and Beyond
With much of the 2022 Canada cruise season already wrapping up – many ships have already completed their Alaska seasons – this announcement may not have a significant impact on the remaining sailings for this year.
What is sure to happen, however, is increased interest and demand for 2023 cruises.
Travelers interested in bucket-list itineraries in Alaska, Newfoundland, and other cruises that include Canadian ports of call, such as Great Lakes sailings or longer repositioning or world cruises, should consider booking early to be sure they can reserve the cruise line, ship, and itinerary they desire most.