Although the Canadian Government has been firm in its decision to ban all cruise ship travel from their shores, Royal Caribbean has now announced it will not be canceling any voyages. This includes cruises embarking/debarking from Canadian ports and those itineraries touching on Canadian ports of call.
The cruise line says it is working through potential options with the Government of Canada and the USA and the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA). The announcement comes as Alaskan government officials called the travel ban ‘unacceptable’.
Call For Guests To Keep Their Reservations
Royal Caribbean is asking all of their guests currently booked on any cruises to Alaska and Canada to keep their bookings. The line feels that they will be able to secure an alternative method of sailing for these cruises.
The line has also moved the final payment dates for these voyages to 45 days before the sailing date, giving guests more freedom and waiting out any potential arrangements Royal Caribbean might be able to sort out.
Standard payment terms call for 75 days before the sailing date for 1 – 4 night cruise vacations and 90 days before the sailing date for 5-night or longer cruise vacations.
However, if guests do decide to cancel their voyage, the cruise line is offering guests several different options to either re-book their voyage to a later date or receive a full refund:
- Option 1: Move the voyage to the same voyage next year ± 1 week
- Option 2: Receive a 125% future cruise credit
- Option 3: receive a 100% refund of amounts paid, valid through June 30, 2021
- Option 4: Keep the same reservation, and receive the opportunity to pay 45 days prior to sailing
Royal Caribbean had four ships scheduled to sail in Alaska in 2021. Quantum of the Seas had been canceled previously due to her staying in Singapore, where she is currently cruising.
For Ovation of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, and Radiance of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Cruises is looking for available options to keep ships sailing on the scheduled dates.
Also Read: IDEAL Things to Do in Ketchikan, Alaska
Canada Decision to Ban Cruise Ships in Canadian Waters is Unacceptable
The announcement from Royal Caribbean comes just days after U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young, all R-Alaska, released the following statement:
“As the state with the most extensive shared border with Canada, the Alaska Delegation has worked in good faith to seek a compromise over border crossing restrictions due to COVID-19, keeping in mind the health and safety of Alaskans and Canadians. Canada’s announcement to ban all cruise sailings carrying 100 people or more traveling through Canadian waters, without so much as a courtesy conversation with the Alaska Delegation, is not only unexpected—it is unacceptable.”
Although relations between Canadian and U.S. officials are usually cordial, these seemed to have cooled considerably now that Canada has implemented and extended the cruise ban. The decision of the Canadians to extend the ban with a full year has been received particularly badly:
“Upon hearing the announcement, we immediately reached out to Canadian and American agencies to try to understand the rationale behind this decision—particularly the duration of the ban. We are exploring all potential avenues, including changing existing laws, to ensure the cruise industry in Alaska resumes operations as soon as it is safe. We will fight to find a path forward.”
What the potential options are for cruises to happen this year in Alaska remain unclear. An amendment to the passenger Passenger Vessels Services Act seems to be one viable option if Canada refuses to budge.
Other options include vessels clearing into Canadian ports electronically, as is the standard in many ports these days, without contact between anyone onboard and ashore.
Though, the fact remains that chances of cruises happening remain small, except for any US-based vessels. If the U.S. government officials, the cruise lines, and CLIA do manage to get a breakthrough, it will be a small but much-needed victory for a battered industry.
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