Serenade of the Seas’ arrival coincided with a major coronavirus outbreak in Sitka, but that didn’t seem to affect the number of passengers visiting town — there simply weren’t that many of them.
As soon as Congress passed a bill Thursday to temporarily exempt Alaska-bound cruise ships from the Passenger Vessel Services Act, Holland America announced it would sail north on July 24. Norwegian Cruise Line is taking reservations for early August.
Dunleavy signed a resolution asking Congress and President Biden to exempt Alaska from a federal law that requires cruise ships headed to Alaska to stop in Canada.
Cruises are still effectively banned in the U.S. — the federal Centers for Disease Control have yet to issue rules necessary for cruise lines to resume calling on U.S. ports
Business owners and local officials say they’re worried that keeping guests in a bubble would squeeze out most of Southeast Alaska’s small tour companies, retailers and restaurants.
It’s not clear when U.S. and Canadian authorities will allow cruises to resume and visit Alaska ports.
City leaders say they received hundreds of emails and phone calls from the public about the Westerdam’s arrival. People wanted to know why the ship was coming here, what it would do once it arrived, how the city could be sure there were no cases of COVID-19 on board.
Over the past decade, federal officials have logged 77 incidents of vessels hitting whales in Alaska waters.
Three Alaskans are appealing a deal reached between Carnival Corporation and federal prosecutors after the world’s largest cruise company recently admitted to violating its felony probation.
An unidentified 69-year-old male passenger of Westerdam disappeared July 13 while the vessel was in Glacier Bay.