President Joe Biden is on track to sign legislation that would allow cruise ships to visit Alaska, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a White House briefing Monday.
“Today the President will be joined by Senator Murkowski, Senator Sullivan and Congressman Young, as he signs HR-1318, The Alaska Tourism Restoration Act,” she said, noting that the ability for ships to visit the state is a “critical step toward returning to normal” for Alaska, a state in which one in 10 jobs is tourism-related, according to Psaki.
The Republican lawmakers from Alaska introduced the “Alaska Tourism Recovery Act,” legislation in March, hoping it would temporarily relieve restrictions in place as a result of the Passenger Vessel Services Act.
U.S. maritime law requires international stops on ships flagged in foreign countries, which includes many major cruise lines’ ships. The bill will allow cruise ships to sail to Alaska without requiring a stop in Canada, which currently has a ban on cruising, prohibiting such a stop, posing a challenge to Alaska’s tourism industry and the cruise industry.
Alaska: June – August
Alaska has a very short cruising season; ships traverse its northern waters only between May and September. The months of June through August offer the warmest weather (50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit) in this chilly state and are therefore the best and most popular times to cruise. In May and September, you'll find some closures and a bit more chill in the air (high 50s to 60s), but you'll also find the best prices. In addition, May is the driest month of the Alaska cruise season, so you're less likely to be rained out of your flightseeing tour, glacier walk or other shore excursions. (Photo: KentWeakley/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The Senate unanimously passed the bill earlier this month and was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday.
As a result of the legislation’s approval within Congress, cruise lines have begun announcing sailings that visit Alaska.
Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Corp. lines Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Line have all announced plans to resume cruising this summer, including some voyages to Alaska.
Contributing: Maureen Groppe
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