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Canada extends cruise ship ban to 2022, essentially canceling season for Seattle

Tents and ambulances are set up next to the Princess Cruises Grand Princess cruise as it sits docked in the Port of Oakland on March 9, 2020, in Oakland, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Canadian federal government is extending its ban on cruise ships in Canadian waters for one more year, until February 2022.

“Essentially, what this means is the 2021 cruise season to Alaska is gone,” Steve Danishek said.

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As travel expert Danishek explained to KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show, only the federal government can change a law that impacts cruise ships traveling from Seattle to Alaska.

“They have to make one foreign stop if they’re a foreign ship, and all the ships — the big ones — are built overseas, so they must make a stop in a foreign country. Well, that’s always been Victoria [B.C.],” Danishek said.

He says the cruise industry contributes more than half a billion dollars to our region’s economy, so this is a devastating blow.

“Each ship brings in about $2.7 million in terms of provisioning and shore costs. Those are all gone. That totals about $500 million to our local economy,” Danishek said. “The state and local taxes from the cruises, $18.9 — almost $19 million — tax revenue, that’s gone.”

“Four thousand local jobs are supported by the cruise ships, those are gone,” he added.

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The ban, originally set to expire at the end of February 2021, applies to cruise ships carrying more than 100 people, as well as pleasure crafts operating in the Arctic, except those used by residents in the region. A news release from the transport minister says the ban is needed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect vulnerable communities.

In a statement, the Port of Seattle says it respects the decision of the Canadian government.

“There remains a possibility of a limited cruise season in Seattle this year, nonetheless, the health and safety of our community comes first, and we await further guidance from the U.S. Center for Disease Control. We will continue working closely with federal and local officials and our industry partners to implement the latest health and safety requirements to support a safe return of cruise. When it is safe to cruise Seattle will be ready,” the statement reads.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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