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Will Disney Sail to Alaska This Summer?

May 25, 2021, 12:30 PM · The federal government has removed the biggest legal obstacle to the Disney Cruise Line returning to Alaska this summer. But will Disney join other cruise lines in sailing north this year?

President Biden yesterday signed the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act, which suspends the Passenger Vessel Services Act for voyages to Alaska through February 2022. The PVSA is the law that requires cruise ships not flagged in the United States to stop in at least one foreign port when sailing between ports in the United States. Purely domestic routes are reserved for U.S. ships under the law. That's why Alaska cruises either depart from Vancouver or include a stop at Victoria in Canada.

But with Canada banning cruise traffic this year due to the ongoing pandemic, Alaska could not welcome cruise ships unless the PVSA went away. This temporary suspension of the law applies only to Alaska routes. New England does not get the exemption, so cruising there will not be able to resume this season on non-U.S.-flagged ships without additional legislation. All cruises departing the U.S. will have to abide by new CDC regulations for the industry.

Several cruise lines have announced sailings from Seattle to Alaska this summer, including Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam starting July 24, Majestic Princess starting July 25, and Carnival Miracle starting July 27. The Disney Cruise Line's Disney Wonder typically sails to Alaska in the summer, but the DCL has not yet announced or published any sailings from Seattle for this season. According to MarineTraffic.com, Disney Wonder is currently moored at Progreso on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. The DCL website lists the Wonder's next available itinerary as being a Baja cruise from San Diego in September.

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Replies (1)

May 25, 2021 at 1:50 PM

I think it's too much of a logistical challenge for DCL to put together any voyages for 2021. The Alaskan cruising season is relatively short, with the first trips typically starting in late May and the last voyages returning in early September. Considering that the Wonder is on the Yucatan, it would take at least 2-3 weeks to reposition the ship to depart from a West Coast port, so the first sailing could not depart until mid-late June. Add to that the need to bring in staff and logistics to sell perhaps a half dozen 7/10 day sailings before the season ended, it just doesn't make a lot of sense right now for what would be a little more than half of a normal season.

Also, DCL's biggest customer group is families, and without an authorized vaccine for children under 12, that would either force the company to require proof of vaccination and to force all kids under 12 to wear masks, or to not allow any kids under 12 on board.

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