Chair Cantwell Statement on Washington-Alaska Cruise Industry Fix

WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, released the following statement on cruise traffic resuming between the State of Washington and Alaska:

“This plan will allow cruise ship traffic to resume between the State of Washington and Alaska as long as those operations are approved by the CDC and follow all relevant health and safety guidelines. Creating an exemption for cruise ships to skip Canadian Ports for this season makes sense,” said Senator Cantwell.

In the State of Washington alone, the cruise industry accounts for $1 billion in direct purchases of goods and services and supports 22,750 jobs paying $1.3 billion in wages. The cancellation of the 2020 season resulted in the loss of 5,500 Seattle jobs and $900 million in economic loss.

On October 30, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order,” a phased technical guidance for a safe return to sailing with a phase two update on April 2, 2021. However, the Canadian government issued a ban on cruise ships through February 2022. Canadian ports are a necessary stop for ships operating between Washington and Alaska to comply with the Passenger Vessel Services Act (46 U.S.C. § 55103). In order to allow our cruise traffic to resume when the CDC guidance allows, the plan that passed the Senate today waives that requirement on a temporary basis.

In 2019, the cruise industry was in growth and generated $55 billion in economic activity in the US, and supported 436,600 American jobs paying $24.4 billion in wages. With no sailings in the U.S. since March 2020 the industry is facing an estimated $32 billion in losses.