While cruise ships steer clear of Russia and its enclaves, the Canadian Government has confirmed that cruise ships can return in April.
The Canadian branch of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said it welcomed the announcement made on 7th March by the Hon Omar Alghabra, Canadian Minister of Transport (pictured), confirming the return of cruising to the country, following the shutdown caused by the pandemic.
The first cruise ship to call since 2019 will stop at Victoria (BC) on 6th April before sailing to Vancouver (BC).
Reacting to this announcement, cruise lines are preparing for a full schedule of sailings this year from April to November, with itineraries that will include ports and destinations on both Canadian coasts, CLIA Canada said.
Many months of work have led to this announcement by Transport Canada. When cruise resumes in April, CLIA member cruise lines will be sailing with COVID-19 protocols that span the whole of the cruise experience and provide some of the highest levels of prevention, detection, and mitigation, compared to virtually any other tourism sector.
CLIA acknowledged the support of British Columbia’s Transportation, Tourism and Health Ministries officials, as well as Transport Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, who worked in co-operation with the association and its member lines, ports and community partners to support the responsible return of cruising to Canada.
Health and safety protocols established for Canadian cruises include the full vaccination of passengers and crew members, as eligible under Canadian health regulations and proof of a negative COVID-19 test result prior to embarkation – confirmed with either a PCR test three days prior to boarding or an antigen test one day prior to boarding.
CLIA said that it will continue to talk with Transport Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and regional agencies to review protocols as the public health situation evolves.
The cruise industry is a vital artery for Canada’s economy, as prior to the pandemic, it supported about 30,000 Canadian jobs and generated an estimated CA$4.3 bill in total economic benefits, including CA$1.9 bill in direct spend and CA$1.44 bill on wages and salaries each year, the association said.