Canada has announced it will re-open to cruise ships on November 1st, 2021, but is not anticipating many cruise ships calls until the 2022 summer season.
Canada’s Minister of Transport said cruise lines “able to fully comply with public health requirements” will be welcome in Canada from November.
“We will welcome cruise ships – an important part of our tourism sector – back in Canadian waters for the 2022 season,” Omar Alghabra said, but added that the public health requirements mentioned have yet to be finalised.
Earlier this year, Canada extended a ban on cruise ships until February 2022, citing the need to protect public health. Alghabra noted that this would remain a key concern for the Canadian government.
“As Canadians have done their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, our government continues to work hard to safely restart our economy and build back better,” he said.
Transport Canada said that as the outlook of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to improve, Canada is looking forward to having a cruising season in 2022.
Transport Canada will continue to work with the Public Health Agency of Canada, other levels of government, the United States government, transportation industry stakeholders, Indigenous Peoples, and Arctic communities to help ensure Canadians and Canada’s transportation system remain safe and secure, according to a press release.
Travel between the United States and Canada remain on hold, however, largely as a result of stubbornly high case numbers in the US, and the politicalisation of the social distancing and mask-wearing mandates in the States, along with widespread vaccine hesitancy.
A Canadian government official said Alghabra’s announcement would allow both countries to work on ways of safely managing the cruise sector.
“We’re working hard through our embassy, through our officials, myself, through our department, and ensuring that we maintain business as usual,” Alghabra told reporters.
The reopening of Canada to cruise tourism could enhance the appeal of Alaskan cruises for cruise lines sailing from the US port of Seattle, as the ability to call in Canada makes the itineraries less port-lean.
However, the key benefit of cruising from Vancouver, which is much closer to Alaska, will not be possible until US cruise tourists are allowed to travel to Canada again, while the ongoing ban on US cruise tourists makes the move largely symbolic for now.