Norwegian Cruise Line cancels early season trips to Alaska

The bow of a white cruise ship
The Norwegian Pearl tied up at Skagway’s Broadway dock in July 2017. Two more cruise ships are moored at the railroad dock in the background. (Emily Files/KHNS)

Norwegian Cruise Line will not send any ships to Alaska until the end of April at the earliest. The announcement comes after Holland American and Princess Cruise Lines canceled all cruises to Alaska through mid-May.

The cruise industry is working out plans to return to service after the COVID-19 pandemic all but eliminated cruise tourism to Alaska. The shut down had a drastic economic effect on port communities which rely on ships to bring in thousands of visitors every day each summer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will allow cruise lines to operate this summer if they meet certain conditions and complete a mock sailing to test COVID-19 protocols. Coastal communities across Alaska are also working to determine how and when ships can safely return.

The return of large cruise ships to Alaska also hinges on Canada re-opening its ports. Maritime law says foreign-flagged cruise ships have to stop in Canada between U.S. ports, and Canada’s ports are closed to cruise ships until March at minimum.