Cruises could resume out of Seattle this summer
Cruise ships could return to the Seattle waterfront this summer.
In a letter to USA TODAY, the Centers for Disease Control said the industry could resume as early as summer with a phased approach.
“We acknowledge that cruising will never be a zero-risk activity and that the goal of the CSO’s phased approach is to resume passenger operations in a way that mitigates the risk of COVID-19 transmission onboard cruise ships and across port communities,” Aimee Treffiletti, head of the Maritime Unit for CDC’s COVID-19 response within its Global Mitigation Task Force for COVID-19, said in the letter.
CDC spokesperson Caitlin Shockey told USA TODAY that cruises could start passenger voyages from the United States in mid-July if they meet the guidelines by then.
“CDC looks forward to continued engagement with the industry and urges cruise lines to submit Phase 2A port agreements as soon as possible to maintain the timeline of passenger voyages by mid-July,” Shockey told USA TODAY.
The CDC released new technical guidance under its Conditional Sailing Order on April 2. At its release, the Port of Seattle suggested cruise lines may be able to offer cruises from Seattle towards the end of the 2021 sailing season if requirements are met.
Passengers can expect changes to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, in February, the Canadian federal government extended its ban on cruise ships in Canadian waters until February 2022.
“Essentially, what this means is the 2021 cruise season to Alaska is gone,” travel agent Steve Danishek told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show.
He says the cruise industry contributes more than half a billion dollars to our region’s economy.
“Each ship brings in about $2.7 million in terms of provisioning and shore costs,” Danishek said. “The state and local taxes from the cruises, $18.9 — almost $19 million — tax revenue.”
The cruise season supports about 5,500 regional jobs. More than a million people pass through Seattle getting on or off their cruises.
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