This Week in Cruise Recovery: Congress Aids Alaska, More Restarts

Sea Lions Alaskan Dream Cruises Chichagof Dream Photo by Susan J Young Editorial Use Only
Cruisers sailing on big ships may be back cruising in Alaska as early as July 2021. They can look forward to possibly seeing such wildlife as sea lions. (Photo by Susan J Young)

It was a positive week on the cruise recovery front. The U.S. Congress passed a bill that could rescue the 2021 Alaska cruise season, while the European Union loosened entry restrictions to allow vaccinated Americans to enter. President Joe Biden still needs to sign that Alaska legislation, but that's expected, given the unanimous passage of the bill in both chambers of Congress.  

Cruise industry reaction including that by Cruise Lines International Association and the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) was quick. Multiple lines have announced "restart" plans.

Those included sister lines Holland America and Princess, long-time Alaska operators with their own land-based products including lodges, plus sister brands, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International. Today, Norwegian Cruise Line also announced it would return to Alaska this summer with sailings on Norwegian Bliss from Seattle. 

On Saturday, Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean's president and CEO, also took to Facebook to say the following: "The huge success of vaccines in the U.S.A. and many other countries and a commitment from the industry to operate with all of our crew vaccinated and the large number of vaccinated guests has created a clear pathway forward. Yesterday, Royal Caribbean submitted the first of several port/health plans to the CDC which are required to receive approval for the simulated voyages which are required to precede approval for regular cruises. As we continue to vaccinate our crew we are preparing for our return to service."

On the river side, with the E.U. announcement opening up the continent to American travelers, AmaWaterways, Scenic Group (Emerald and Scenic), Viking River Cruises, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and others announced that they'll be back on rivers in Portugal, France, Italy and elsewhere across Europe (including the Rhine and Danube Rivers) starting in late June or July. 

In other news, Victory Cruise Lines, a foreign-flagged, small-ship line operated by American Queen Steamboat Company, announced its 2022 itineraries

Luxe-adventure Atlas Ocean Voyages also introduced World Navigator's new spring/summer 2022 lineup, while Celestyal Cruises outlined new 2022 itineraries for its the new Celestyal Experience.

That said, continuing political/faction troubles in Israel caused Royal Caribbean International to pull Odyssey of the Seas from eastern Mediterranean voyages that were slated to start on June 2, 2021 from Haifa, Israel

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