Federal govt. easing cruise travel advisory: “This is another milestone on the road to recovery,” says ACTA

Federal govt. easing cruise travel advisory: “This is another milestone on the road to recovery,” says ACTA

TORONTO — It’s a good start to the week for the travel industry, especially for the many, many Canadian travel advisors and tour operators invested in selling cruise travel.

The federal government is downgrading the ban against cruise travel for Canadian travellers, and instead advising cruise travellers to exercise a high level of caution. The announcement follows a similar move announced by the government on Feb. 15, 2022 with the easing of overall travel restrictions that took effect Feb. 28.

This morning in Halifax Transport Minister Omar Alghabra outlined Canada’s rules for passengers boarding cruise ships heading to Canadian ports. The federal government’s ban on cruise ships in Canadian waters was lifted four months early, on Nov. 1, 2021.

Minister Alghabra told reporters in Halifax today that cruise ship employees and passengers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Passengers will need to take a PCR test within 72 hours before they board, or an antigen test within one day of boarding.

Passengers will also need a negative PCR test result within 72 hours before their return to Canada, or an antigen test result within one day of their arrival.

Alghabra says cruise ship operators will be required to inspect proof of vaccination and monitor and report test results.

The minister says no passenger will be allowed off a cruise ship unless they meet the requirements, which will be enforced by the Canada Border Services Agency.

ACTA WELCOMES THE NEWS

ACTA says it welcomes the news, but adds that more needs to be done with the elimination of all pre-departure testing for travellers.

“ACTA is pleased at the significant progress to re-opening Canada’s cruise industry, including the easing of the travel advisory,” said Wendy Paradis, President, ACTA. “This is another milestone on the road to recovery, and will support travel agencies and independent travel agents who depend on cruise sales.”

Paradis notes that travellers will no longer be advised against cruise travel, meaning insurance becomes more accessible.

Paradis adds that ACTA and other Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable partners are vigorously advocating that in the coming weeks, the pre-departure test be removed for all modes of travel for all fully vaccinated persons.

“We are thankful to the Government of Canada, Minister Alghabra and Minister Boissonnault for their close engagement with travel and tourism partners,” said Paradis. “We also thank CLIA for their leadership and two years of tireless advocacy.”

HOLLAND AMERICA STEPS UP

Holland America Line is among the first out of the gate with its announcement that it will resume sailings to Canadian ports for the upcoming 2022 season.

Earlier today Holland America Line announced it was moving forward with preparation for a full season of Alaska explorations and Canada/New England sailings.

Holland America’s 2022 Alaska cruises depart from Vancouver and call at Victoria, while Canada/New England itineraries depart Montreal and Quebec and explore 13 Canadian ports.

“The completion of this guidance by Transport Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, Public Health Agency of Canada, and port officials will allow us to sail our Alaska and Canada/New England seasons as planned,” said Gus Antorcha, President, Holland America Line. “This is a positive step for everyone who loves to travel to these regions and for all of the businesses in Canada that we support through tourism.”

Holland America Line will celebrate 75 years of Alaska exploration in summer 2022. The line’s ships in Alaska use Vancouver as a homeport for roundtrip cruises and itineraries between Vancouver and Whittier, AK. Cruises that sail roundtrip from Seattle to Alaska call at Victoria.

In Canada/New England, ships cruise between Montreal and Quebec City and Boston. Itineraries range from six to 24 days and call at 13 Canadian ports in Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and PEI.

Robin Silvester, President and CEO of Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, had this to say: ”We greatly value our longstanding partnership with Holland America Line, which was the first cruise line to call at the new Canada Place cruise terminal at the Port of Vancouver in 1986. We’re pleased to see the return of cruising in Canada, and we look forward to welcoming cruise lines, guests and crew back to Vancouver.”

Holland America’s first ship to arrive in Canada is Koningsdam, which calls at Victoria on April 9 en route to Vancouver for an April 10 arrival. On the eastern seaboard, Zaandam calls at Halifax on May 17 while on a nine-day Atlantic Coast cruise sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Montreal.

Here’s a look at the highlights for Holland America …

 

ALASKA CRUISES 

Holland America Line will resume cruises to Alaska from the port of Vancouver and between Vancouver and Whittier.

  • Seven-day “Glacier Discovery Northbound” and “Glacier Discovery Southbound” itineraries between Whittier and Vancouver aboard Nieuw Amsterdam and Noordam. Ports include Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway.
  • Seven-day “Alaska Inside Passage” cruises sail roundtrip from Vancouver on Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam and Zuiderdam. Ports include Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway.
  • Seven-day “Alaskan Explorer” cruises sail roundtrip from Seattle aboard Eurodam and Westerdam. Ports include Victoria, Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait and Sitka.

CANADA / NEW ENGLAND

From May through October, Nieuw Statendam and Zaandam offer a series of six to 24-day departures between Boston and Quebec City or Montreal.

  • Seven-day “Canada & New England Discovery” cruises between Montreal and Boston in summer and fall. Ports include Bar Harbor, Maine; and the Canadian destinations of Quebec City; Charlottetown and Sydney and Halifax.
  • Six- or eight-day “Canada & New England Discovery” cruises between Quebec and Boston in the fall. Ports include Bar Harbor, Quebec City, Charlottetown, Sydney and Halifax.
  • 10- and 11-day “Newfoundland and New England Discovery” cruises between Quebec and Boston visit a combination of Bar Harbor; Halifax; St. Johns, Corner Brook and St. Anthony, Newfoundland; and Baie-Comeau and Havre-Saint-Pierre, Quebec. The 11-day includes an overnight at Quebec.
  • 24-day “Canada, New England and Iceland” departing Aug. 3, 2022, roundtrip from Boston. Calls at Sydney, Corner Brook, St. Anthony, St. Johns, Halifax, Saint Pierre & Miquelon and Red Bay; along with Qaqortoq and Nanortalik, Greenland; Isafjordur, Seydisfjordur, Djupivogur, Reykjavik and Grundarfjordur, Iceland; and Bar Harbor.
  • Nine-day repositioning cruises along the Atlantic Coast between Montreal and Fort Lauderdale in May and October feature calls at Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax, Sydney and Quebec. A 14-day cruise in fall from Quebec to Fort Lauderdale adds Portland, ME; and Charlottetown, Gaspe and Saguenay.

With file from The Canadian Press