Canada was very early to ban cruises from their waters and ports following what happened with the Diamond Princess in Japan when the pandemic broke and this weekend was the first time in two years that a large cruise ship returned to a Canadian port.
It’s now April 2022 and the beginning of the Alaska cruise season which means the ports of Vancouver and Victoria will be very busy with cruises that either originate or stop there due to regulatory requirements.
International (foreign registered) cruise lines aren’t allowed to exclusively operate domestic itineraries so in order to skirt labor- and other laws they always add at least one foreign stop along the route, commonly known as the Jones Act and Passenger Vessel Services Act.
As far as Alaska is concerned that’s usually a Canadian Port, namely Vancouver or Victoria. I will be on an Alaska cruise as well in a few weeks and mine will originate from Seattle and return via a stop in Victoria.
As the CBC just reported, the first ship that visited Victoria (and Canada in general) was a Holland America vessel last Saturday.
The first ship to arrive on B.C.’s coast is the Koningsdam, part of the Holland America line.
The ship hosts a seven-day cruise from San Diego, Calif., to Vancouver, and will arrive at a Victoria port Saturday.
Under federal regulations, cruise ship passengers arriving in Canada need to be fully vaccinated and tested for COVID-19 before boarding at departure points, and are monitored before arrival in Canada. …
Simone Kearney-Rodriguez is looking forward to putting cash in the register this weekend when the first crowd of cruise ship passengers pull into port in Victoria, B.C., on Saturday, after the last two cruise seasons were cancelled due to COVID-19.
The owner of the Beaver Gift Shop says her family business almost sank without the support of hundreds of thousands of cruise tourists that have kept her afloat for more than 30 years.
“We’re still alive, but it took everything that I had to keep going,” she told CBC’s On the Island.
She’s not alone: according to the Tourism Industry Association of B.C., cruise ships contribute about $2.7 billion annually to the provincial economy, supporting tourism-oriented businesses in coastal cities like Victoria, Vancouver and Prince Rupert.
“We’re a tourist town,” said Bruce Williams, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce in an interview in the James Bay neighbourhood, where docked tourists stock up on gifts and candy.
“These businesses have always been reliant on tourism and some of them are down 80 or 90 per cent of revenue.”
More than 300 ships are expected to call at B.C. ports between now and November, bringing in upward of a million customers. But along with their tourist dollars are some concerns, including the possible arrival of new cases of COVID and the environmental impact of giant ships floating through delicate coastal ecosystems. …
The article also highlights a range of valid environmental concerns these ships bring to the sensitive B.C. coastal waters which have been a discussion point for years and regulations in British Columbia are much less stringent than for example those in California.
Last year when the Alaska cruise season restarted Canada said they still wouldn’t permit ships to go into Canadian waters and in response the U.S. Congress passed a waiver of the PVSA, allowing ships to sail from Seattle to Alaska and return to Seattle without a Canadian stop.
As a result Canada (and the operators of businesses in Victoria and Vancouver) have lost hundreds of millions in revenue and it finally appears that the penny has dropped. Realizing that Congress would likely pass a waiver yet again, Canada decided to open for the 2022 cruise season.
Cruise lines generally only accept passengers who have received their Covid-19 vaccine while all of the staff has been vaccinated as well. That in addition to on-board health protocols such as using masks and sanitizing is as good as it gets. Let adults live their lives again!
It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself properly with the protocol the cruise lines have established on board. It would be a very miserable vacation if there is something extremely annoying in these rules that you can’t live with.
The Canadian ports are now open and cruise lines can legally start operating between Alaska and the the lower 48 with briefly stopping in Canada while other itineraried originate in Vancouver and go up the coast to Alaska. These cruises have now been scheduled for a while and can be purchased from the cruise lines.
Cruises might be slightly more expensive this year, largely because many of the entry (interior) cabins aren’t available if ships don’t sail at full capacity and because people have so many cruise credits from cancelled past cruises to burn. I have found some excellent deals early on though and generally always use Casino promotions for free cruises.