Canada could allow return of cruise ships in November

Canada said on Thursday that it would allow large cruise ships to visit the country, starting in November, but they would have to comply fully with public health requirements.

Earlier this year Canada had extended its ban on cruise ships until February 2022, citing the need to protect public health. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in a statement that the restriction would now be lifted on November 1st 2021.

“We will welcome cruise ships – an important part of our tourism sector – back in Canadian waters for the 2022 season,” he said.

The major cruise operators had complained that Canada’s ban was hurting their business on the West Coast because US law obliges foreign-flagged cruise ships sailing from Washington state to Alaska to make a Canadian stop.

Canada has not yet lifted its ban on non-essential travel with the US. A Canadian government official said Alghabra’s announcement would allow both countries to work on ways to manage the cruise sector safely.

“We’re working hard through our embassy, through our officials, myself, through our department, and ensuring that we maintain business as usual,” Alghabra said.

Later on Thursday prime minister Trudeau said that Canada could permit fully vaccinated travellers into the country by early September, if the current trend in vaccination rate and public health conditions continue.

Trudeau also said there were ongoing discussions with the US to begin allowing fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents into Canada for non-essential travel by mid-August.