U.S. Senate Steps In, Disney Cruises Could Return to Alaska This Year

in Disney Cruise Line

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Credit: Disney

In February 2021, the Canadian government issued an order that banned all cruise liners carrying more than 100 passengers from entering Canadian waters. This deeply impacted Disney Cruise Line and other cruiser operators who offer Alaskan cruises.

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Credit: Disney

Related: No Disney Cruises to Alaska For 3 Years

Per the official announcement from the Canadian government:

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced two new Interim Orders, which prohibit pleasure craft in Canadian Arctic waters and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters until February 28, 2022. This means:

  • Adventure-seeking pleasure craft are still prohibited from entering Arctic waters.
  • Passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people are still prohibited from entering Arctic coastal waters, including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, and the Labrador Coast.
  • Cruise vessels carrying more than 100 people are still prohibited from operating in Canadian waters.

Every cruise liner in the Disney Cruise Line fleet — the Disney Dream, the Disney Fantasy, the Disney Magic, and the Disney Wonder — each carry well over 100 passengers.

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Credit: Disney

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Although Disney has not officially canceled its 2021 Alaskan sailing season on the Disney Wonder — the Wonder‘s itineraries have been suspended through July 2021 — Canada’s cruising ban has made Disney Cruise Line fans wonder if there is any hope for taking an Alaska Disney cruise vacation this year.

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Credit: Disney

Related: New CDC Guidance Could Change the Game For Disney Cruise Line

Now, the United States Congress might be stepping in to assist. Alaska Senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski introduced S-593: Alaska Tourism Restoration Act, which was passed by the U.S. Senate on Thursday, May 13.

Senator Sullivan Tweeted:

The Senate just passed Sen. @LisaMurkowski’s & my bill to temporarily waive the federal requirement for cruise ships transiting to Alaska to stop in Canada. I thank my colleagues for coming together & giving our constituents a fighting chance at a 2021 cruise ship season.

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Sullivan went on to note, however, that the work is just beginning as the bill will now go to the U.S. House of Representatives:

This is an important and encouraging step, but we aren’t done yet. The Dean of the House,@RepDonYoung, will next be working with his colleagues to quickly pass the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act in the House.

Senator Murkowski also shared her thoughts:

Huge victory today in my effort to provide an opportunity for economic recovery for Alaskan communities who rely on cruise ship passengers — the Senate just passed my bill w/ @SenDanSullivan, the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act.

Related: Disney Cruise Line Considering Sailing Out of Ft. Lauderdale

It is important to note that this bill passing in the U.S. Senate does not mean Disney Cruise Line will return to Alaska in 2021. If the bill passes in the House before the 2021 Alaskan cruise season ends in September, it will simply provide cruise operators with an avenue to visit Alaska without stopping in Canada — they will, instead, transit via Seattle, per the bill.

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Credit: Disney

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However, cruise operators like Disney will still have to decide they are ready to safely set sail again by that time with the appropriate COVID-19 protocols in place. And, they will have to meet all of the requirements set forth in the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Conditional Sailing Order (CSO).

Nonetheless, this is a positive step forward for anyone who is hoping to visit Alaska before the 2021 cruising season comes to a close in early fall. At this time, Disney Cruise Line has not set a return to sailing date for domestic cruises.

disney cruise line mickey and minnie
Credit: Disney

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Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek has expressed optimism about a fall 2021 return, but nothing has been confirmed at this time.

Do you hope Disney Cruise Line returns to Alaska this year? Do you think this legislation will pass?

If you’re ready to book a Disney Cruise vacation, whether or not you have a future cruise credit to use, the expert team at Academy Travel can help you plan every magical detail! Take a Bahamas cruise to Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, set sail on a Frozen adventure to Anna and Elsa’s Norway, or go somewhere else entirely — the choice is yours!

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