Here’s some welcome news for cruisers and other travelers: Transport Canada announced Monday morning that it will remove all COVID-19-related entry restrictions—including testing, quarantine and isolation requirements—for anyone entering the country from October 1, 2022.
The removal of border measures, Transport Canada said, has been facilitated by a number of factors, such as modeling that indicates that Canada has largely passed the peak of the Omicron BA.4- and BA.5-fueled wave, Canada’s high vaccination rates, lower hospitalization and death rates, as well as the availability and use of vaccine boosters (including new bivalent formulation), rapid tests, and treatments for COVID-19.
What this means: Starting October 1, travelers—regardless of citizenship—will no longer have to:
- submit public health information through the ArriveCAN app or website
- provide proof of vaccination
- undergo pre- or on-arrival testing
- carry out COVID-19-related quarantine or isolation
- monitor and report if they develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19 upon arriving to Canada
Additionally, Transport Canada will be removing existing travel requirements such as undergoing health checks for air and rail travel and the requirement of masks on such transportation methods from the same date. That said, the government agency added, “Although the masking requirement is being lifted, all travelers are strongly recommended to wear high quality and well-fitted masks during their journeys.”
When it comes to cruising, related measures are also being lifted, meaning travelers will no longer be required to have pre-board tests, be vaccinated or use ArriveCAN. A set of guidelines will remain to protect passengers and crew, which will align with the approach used in the United States.
Cruise Lines React
Following Monday morning’s announcement, Princess Cruises said it is prepared to welcome all guests on cruises visiting, arriving or departing from Canadian ports, including its Canada/New England voyages and Alaska cruises.
“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 on our incredible Alaska and Canadian cruises,” 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.”
Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line, in a statement said, “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. 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.”
In addition to Canada lifting border measures, Holland America Line is making it even easier for guests to plan for a cruise with a new Health Protocols Tool on Holland America Line’s website. Now booked guests can simply enter their booking number and the exact vaccination and testing requirements will be outlined. All 2022 cruises are available, and 2023 departures are to be loaded soon.
In its own statement, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said it and its member cruise lines "welcome the decision by the Government of Canada to remove mandatory measures and publish public health guidance. The decision is also a testament to the effectiveness of the industry’s comprehensive and robust protocols. Cruise has demonstrated its leadership in health and safety protocols for decades. Even prior to the pandemic, cruise has shown that the incidence of major illness onboard is significantly lower on a ship than on land. Passengers sailing on CLIA-member cruise lines will continue to see health and safety protocols in place that evolve commensurate with the public health situation.
"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. 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."