The Auto Club Group’s Travel Agency is celebrating the passage of a new federal law that allows travelers to cruise Alaska this summer.
AAA’s partners like Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises have all announced week-long sailings beginning in July.
AAA spokesperson Mark Jenkins said cruise bookings have accelerated in recent months.
"The first couple of sailings are going quickly and then cruising as a whole is just really booming right now. Bookings through the second half of 2021 are very strong. Bookings for 2022 are significantly stronger than they were pre-pandemic," said Mark Jenkins.
Sailings have been on hold since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, President Joe Biden signed legislation into law that puts cruise lines a step closer to traveling to Alaska. The new law allows large cruise ships to sail directly from Washington state to Alaska without having to stop in Canada.
"This law will allow cruise ships to bypass Canada. Canada right now has a ban against cruise ships through February of next year so there was a lot of concerns Alaska cruises might not be able to happen," said Jenkins.
Cruise companies noted passengers would need to be vaccinated and show proof. The cruise lines would still need approval from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to sail.
Dr. Jay Wolfson, Professor of Public Health Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of South Florida, said the passage of the federal law is great news for the cruise industry.
"The cruise ship industry went through a horror show last year. They lost hundreds of millions of dollars. They do not want a single case of COVID-19 so they’re going to go out of the way to do whatever it takes to make sure they are squeaky clean for their own economic interest, putting aside anybody else’s political interest," said Dr. Wolfson.
"We must not forget that basic public health surveillance, testing and monitoring is going to be key to making sure this remains safe going through the months of summer into fall," he added.