The head of Alaska’s cruise industry association says people want to get back on cruise ships and visit the state next year. Mike Tibbles briefed the Alaska Board of Marine Pilots on Oct. 9.
“We still are hearing that Alaska remains in high demand, we’re still hearing that there’s a lot of pent-up demand for cruising,” Tibbles said. “Cruisers that have cruised in the past and really are anxious to get back on board.”
The marine pilots board asked Tibbles, the Alaska rep for the Cruise Lines International Association, how many cruise ships and passengers to expect in 2021. He says there’s still too much uncertainty to make projections.
“I just think there’s just too many unknowns at this point to be able to put a specific number out,” Tibbles said.
This year’s cruise season was canceled following a no-sail order by the Centers for Disease Control and the closing of Canada’s ports to cruise traffic. Foreign-flagged vessels require a stop in Canada in order to carry U.S. passengers from Seattle to Alaska ports.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Carnival Corporation-owned lines Princess and Holland America have each sold a ship that had been deployed to Alaska in the summer. A third franchise, Cunard, has also confirmed it’s canceled all Alaska sailings in 2021.
It’s not clear when U.S. and Canadian authorities will allow cruises to resume and visit Alaska ports.