US Bill Introduced to Revoke Cruise Ban

Holland America Line in Alaska.
Holland America Line in Alaska.

Senators from America’s two biggest cruise states introduced a new bill Tuesday that would allow cruising in U.S. waters to resume beginning 04JUL, according to Bloomberg.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan are the authors of the cleverly-named “Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancements” – or “CRUISE” Act.

With the patriotic start date of Independence Day, and a catchy name, the Act hits all the right buttons for voters in states that are the Numbers One and Two U.S. cruising destinations.  Both states are desperate to salvage jobs and revenues from cruises.

The bill would revoke the CDC’s Conditional Sail Order that currently is set to expire 01NOV.

As Bloomberg notes, the CDC, “has already said cruising is possible by mid-summer under the existing framework.” But cruise lines have not received further guidance about preparations they would need to sail within that timeline. The CDC has also not issued any guidance about the role of vaccinations on the ability to resume cruising, even as American vaccination rates continue to climb.

Sullivan’s and Rubio’s CRUISE Act would override the CDC, and enable cruising to commence in American waters by Independence Day.

In a further apparent attempt to erode the CDC’s exclusive authority, other sources note that the Act also proposes an inter-agency working group that would establish health and safety guidelines to mitigate risks of COVID-19 on board cruise ships among guests and crew, as well as communities visited onshore.

If the law passes, revoking the CSO might solve Florida’s problems. But Alaska still has other hurdles to overcome before cruise ships can return to its shores.

Long-standing laws effectively requiring cruises to call in Canadian ports en route to Alaska mean Canada’s ban on cruise ships this year will stop Alaskan cruises regardless of the CDC’s restrictions. Other bills introduced in both Congress and the Senate to temporarily allow Alaskan cruises to bypass Canada have not yet successfully passed.

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