Canada Extends Cruise Ban Until 2022

February 4, 2021, 4:52 PM · Forget about Disney Cruise Line visits to Alaska this summer. Or any other cruises with most major lines to Alaska or New England this year.

Canada has banned large cruise ships from operating in Canadian waters until this time next year, effectively ending the 2021 northern cruise season months before it could begin. That's two lost seasons now for many ports of call in those markets.

The order is to remain in effect through February 28, 2022. It continues the ban of cruise vessels carrying more than 100 people from operating in Canadian waters, cutting off access to Alaska and northern ports used on many New England and Great Lakes cruises.

Disney Wonder
Disney Wonder in Alaska

U.S. laws prohibit foreign-built and foreign-flagged vessels from sailing to port-to-port within the United States without a call to a non-U.S. port. Calls to Canadian ports satisfied that requirement for foreign-flagged vessels - including those from the Bahamian-flagged Disney Cruise Line - when they sailed to Alaska. But Canada does not want an influx of foreign tourists to its airports and cruise ports as it looks to contain and eradicate Covid-19 in the country.

"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," Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said. "This is the right and responsible thing to do.”

Disney Cruise Line currently has canceled sailings aboard the Disney Fantasy through April 24, the Disney Dream through April 30, the Disney Magic through May 9, and the Disney Wonder through May 12. The Wonder had been scheduled to sail from Vancouver to Alaska this summer, so cancelations of its 2021 sailings after May 12 should be forthcoming.

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Replies (12)

February 4, 2021 at 5:16 PM

Robert, have you seen the POV videos for Mario Kart? Great theming, but the ride itself looks quite boring. No sense of speed or actual racing.

February 4, 2021 at 6:20 PM

Intentionally avoiding those until I can ride for myself. That's why I haven't written anything yet. The closed border did me in there.

February 4, 2021 at 6:47 PM

Interesting... We tentatively have an Alaska trip scheduled with Cunard for July 2022. Luckily the final payment isn't due until March of next year. Guess we'll know by then... Glad we've still got some time :-)

February 4, 2021 at 7:23 PM

@Robert, that makes sense. I’ll avoid spoiling any further details then. To be fair, that’s exactly what I did regarding Hagrid’s coaster, ROTR and MMRR and I’ll be doing the same for Velocicoaster, until I can get to Orlando. Hopefully, next year.

February 5, 2021 at 9:36 AM

Cruises are going to continue to be pushed off into the future, though I think extending this ban into 2022 is a bit extreme from the Canadian government. My parents were on a cruise when the world started shutting down (and ended up sailing an extra 14 days and across the Equator to find a port where they could disembark), and have their next cruise planned in August with a Northern European itinerary. They're hopeful that cruise will happen as scheduled, but are expecting it to get delayed (most likely to 2022). However, it's still on, and having something to look forward to in the not so distant future is important for them right now (and for a lot of people).

It's easy to cancel and keep things closed right now, but even as the vaccines give many people around the world hope of better days ahead, there won't be any optimism if they can't start planning ways to get their lives back to normal. Canceling and delaying events 6+ months in advance is squashing hope and happiness that many see in these lights at the end of the tunnel, and I wonder if they are doing more harm than good. Would simply extending bans/closures like this for 3 months at a time and constantly evaluating them based on conditions be better for morale than crushing people's hopes for an entire year?

February 5, 2021 at 10:04 AM

Life looks more every day like the South Park movie. Blame Canada!

February 5, 2021 at 10:29 AM

Russell Meyer - I certainly see your point, not wanting to crush people's morale, but at this point I think I would rather know what to expect, rather than falling victim to false optimism. Again. I'm now preparing to be disappointed for the third time since Covid19 began (Cruise to Norway in late June 2021...don't think its going to happen). That gets a bit draining on the morale too.

Cruising should be back on line early next year. I think I would rather start making plans that I can realistically look forward to: Cruise in 2022. Disney World in December 2021. Those are far off, but I actually think they are going to happen, and can enjoy planning them.

February 5, 2021 at 10:43 AM

That's true, but there's a big difference between cancelling trips/events that are 3-4 months out when we can more accurately predict that conditions won't be significantly improved versus 6-12 months out, when predictions are much more error-prone. Constantly having things cancelled does hurt morale, but when someone planned at trip at the end of 2020 for the later half of 2021 (when most health and travel experts expected some return to normalcy), they shouldn't have those hopes dashed nearly a year in advance. This move by the Canadian government offers no hope until 2022, even if we get to a point where travel is relatively safe in August or September (when most experts predict over 100 million Americans will be vaccinated against the virus).

What value is there in cancelling the entire year when making decisions every 3-4 months will at least allow for decisions to be made based on actual conditions? It's not like Canada can turn around now, because the cruise industry can't simply make ships magically appear and put together itineraries on 4-6 months notice even if Canada chose to reverse course later this year. This is just a disappointing move that will further bury the travel industry and ancillary business that rely on it.

February 5, 2021 at 11:38 AM

1 agree 100%, Russell! I'm dealing with the same thing professionally, with groups already wanting to cancel conferences that aren't scheduled until June. I'm counseling that it's better for everyone, including Florida's economy and hotel industry, to just wait a little longer and see what happens. But it's a hard sell...

February 5, 2021 at 1:12 PM

Absolutely Melanie, and the biggest problem I see with all of these conferences cancelling for 2021 is that they are moving to virtual formats. While moving conferences and events to the virtual space was met with mixed results, many organizers have now become heavily invested in the technology and are getting more comfortable with working virtually, and attendees are satisfied with the virtual formats (along with their company's expense budgets that don't have to support travel). Thus cancelling live events and conferences through the end of 2021 is an easy sell for both organizers and participants, especially considering the significant investments made to host 2020 events virtually. However, by continuing through 2021 in a virtual environment, it will slowly get harder to get these events live again or at least have the same level of live participation there was in 2019. People are creatures of habit, and having a second year of conventions hosted virtually will make it that much harder to get back to the old way of doing business.

Think about E3, ComicCon, IAAPA, or any of the other HUGE events around the country. Companies that exhibit or send buyers to these events will see less value in hosting it live because of the efficiency that has been gained from going virtual. Even if these events go back to their old formats, many will still want to stay virtual (and you know even events that go live will still have virtual components for the foreseeable future - particularly celebrities that can Zoom into presentation instead of having to rub elbows with fans, devaluing the experience for attendees).

I read a pretty lengthy analysis about how this has impacted Las Vegas in particular, which is one of the most popular cities to host conventions. Their business is down 80%, and many of the bookings that would schedule years in advance are cancelling through 2025 or placing contingencies on their deposits in the event of another force majeure or the need to downsize due to decreased attendance. The city might be known for gambling, but with the vice now legal virtually across the country (including sports wagering now), Las Vegas increasingly relies on the tourist and convention market. With so many conventions downsizing or going away altogether, the city, which up until last year was the fastest growing city in America, faces a very bleak future.

February 5, 2021 at 1:09 PM

You're so right, Russell! Orlando is in a very similar boat.

As a meeting planner, I HATE virtual events :-). Throughout the past year, we've managed to keep most of our groups to using very basic virtual options (Zoom, GoToWebinar) to conduct their necessary business, but hybrids are going to be a thing for a while, even once we're back to in-person. The upside is that it may actually enable MORE participation at events -- in our case, from small city governments whose budgets don't normally allow for the expense of conference registrations, hotel stays, etc. But there are many downsides... not to mention the opinion of exhibitors who pay for booths at these events to sell their products and services. The companies we've talked to have NOT been impressed with virtual conferences... and they may even decide that it's not worth paying for space at in-person events where future attendance may be cut in half.

The only thing that keeps me optimistic about our groups is that a lot of the attendance is from city officials -- folks who THRIVE on in-person interaction.

February 6, 2021 at 12:08 PM

Canadian here from Vancouver BC where most Alaskan Cruises depart from. Yes this move will devastate the tourism industry here as hotels are hurting badly as I use to work near the cruise terminal pre Covid so I could see how important those visitors are to the local economy.
Having said that, crushing the curve is more important which has spiked post Christmas this is a necessary move albeit very damaging.
Also as Vancouver is home to a large Chinese community and with Chinese New Year around the corner we are not out of the woods yet not by long shot.
Therefore I have no problem with perhaps draconian measures imposed by our government officials.

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