The government of Canada has announced a further ban on cruise ships, and this one is really going to hurt the industry. Cruise ships are now banned from Canada for an entire year, impacting all major cruise lines and some big cruise hubs in the country.
One-Year Ban for Cruises in Canada
As the global pandemic continues to impact the world, Canada’s Minister of Transport has just announced what the cruise industry had been fearing. Cruise ships are now banned in Canadian waters until February 28, 2022.
This means you can cross off any cruise vacation plans out of major cruise ports in the country, including Vancouver, Montreal, and Halifax. The ban applies to cruise vessels that can carry 100 or more passengers. There are also bans on ships entering Arctic waters.
The previous ban on cruise ships was set to end on February 28, 2021. Companies can be fined $25,000 per day if they break the rules. There is also a fine of $5,000 if individuals break the rules.
Also, those who do not comply with the passenger vessel prohibition could be liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to $1 million, imprisonment for a term of up to 18 months, or both.
Cruise ships that can carry less than 100 passengers will still be able to operate but have to follow local protocols.
Why a Ban for One Year?
This is not the news cruise lines or the thousands of cruise passengers hoping to enjoy a vacation at sea once again later in the year would want to hear.
The Canadian government’s main aim is to make sure people remain safe and healthy. With this order in place, authorities will focus on the most pressing issues, including the vaccine rollout and dealing with new variants of COVID-19. Cruising will have to take a back step for now.
The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport commented:
“As Canadians continue to do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, our government continues to work hard to ensure Canada’s transportation system remains safe. Temporary prohibitions to cruise vessels and pleasure craft are essential to continue to protect the most vulnerable among our communities and avoid overwhelming our health care systems. This is the right and responsible thing to do.”
The government is also still advising its nationals to avoid any cruise ship travel not just in Canada but around the world until further notice.
Also Read: Why Are Cruises Still Being Canceled?
Big Blow for Cruise Industry
This comes as the cruise industry has already been hit hard by travel restrictions and suspensions around the world. This will now lead to a new round of suspensions on cruises out of Canada, as well as for itineraries with scheduled calls on Canadian ports.
The Alaska season is now likely not to take place in 2021, along with sailings from New England which many itineraries, especially popular fall foliage sailings, start from and sail to Canada. This really puts the lid on so many itinerary options and that’s due to the Passenger Vessel Service Act of 1886 which requires cruise ships to call at a foreign port.
It’s not getting easier for the cruise lines and there are already hints that a further suspension into summer in the U.S. could just be a matter of time. There will be questions as to how cruises to Alaska could be impacted for the upcoming season. Cruise Hive will bring those additional developments as they are announced.
Main Photo Credit: meunierd / Shutterstock.com