Six major cruise lines will restart weekly sailings to Alaska from Seattle this summer, with itineraries offered from late July to October.
The cruise lines—Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity Cruises—made announcements after the U.S. Senate joined the House of Representatives in unanimously approving the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act.
The legislation, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden on May 24, temporarily allows large, foreign-flagged ships to sail round-trip between Alaska and Seattle. This year, the ships will not be able to stop in Canada, where a ban on cruise ships runs through February 2022.
Before cruises to Alaska can resume, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must approve the cruise lines’ return-to-service plans.
The Alaska cruise season typically runs from spring to early fall, but even a shortened season with fewer sailings will provide an economic boost to the cruise lines, which have not been allowed to sail from the U.S. since March 2020. The sailings are also expected to inject much-needed revenue into Southeast Alaska communities that missed out on the 2020 cruising season. Local economies are heavily dependent on tourism: In 2019, more than half of the state’s 2.2 million visitors arrived by cruise ship. Princess and Holland America each send a half-dozen or more ships in a typical year.
But this is not a typical year, and, for passengers, that means cruising with new pandemic rules.