Seattle-based Alaska cruises likely to resume in late July

SEATTLE — Part of this summer’s Seattle-based cruise ship season will likely be salvaged after all.

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives followed the U.S. Senate in passing a waiver to a federal law that required foreign-flagged ships sailing to Alaska from Seattle to stop in Canada on their voyage.

Because of COVID-19, Canada banned cruise ships until 2022.

Norwegian Cruise Line is now booking Alaska trips for August and September, and both Princess Cruises and Holland America Line announced sailings from Seattle starting in late July.

“This is exciting news. There’s strong momentum from Congress and the CDC,” said Stephanie Jones Stebbins, the Port of Seattle’s maritime director.

“The Alaska season may only be five to six weeks, which is still better than nothing,” said Stewart Chiron, an industry watcher known as The Cruise Guy.

Chiron said once President Joe Biden signs the waiver, everything comes down to cruise lines working out COVID-19 protocols with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The only thing keeping this from occurring now is the CDC,” Chiron said.

Holland America Line President Gus Antorcha told KIRO 7 the negotiations are going well.

“We’re very close, and the discussions have been very positive,” Antorcha said. “We’re very excited to be returning to cruising in Alaska.”