Canada bans cruise ships into 2022 as COVID-19 pandemic continues

Canada once again extended its ban on cruises – pushing back the possibility for large passenger vessels to sail in Canadian waters by an additional year after shutting them out last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

No cruise ships will be able to sail in Canada until March 1, 2022.

“Today, I announced a 1-year ban on pleasure craft in Canadian Arctic waters and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters, these prohibitions will protect the most vulnerable among our communities and avoid overwhelming our health care systems,” Minister of Transport for Canada Omar Alghabra wrote on Twitter Thursday.

The prohibition on cruise ships had been scheduled to lift March 1 after extensions in May and October. 

The order pertains to cruise ships carrying more than 100 people. Passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people are banned from entering Arctic coastal waters, including the Labrador Coast, Nunatsiavut and Nunavik, according to a news release from the Canadian government.

“As Canadians continue to do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, our government continues to work hard to ensure Canada’s transportation system remains safe,” Alghabra said in a statement. “This is the right and responsible thing to do.”

In October, shortly after Canada ordered an extension to its ban, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ended its eight-month “no sail” order, replacing it with its “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order.” 

That framework didn’t give ships the go-ahead to resume sailing immediately – or in the months after its release.

“This ‘Framework of Conditional Sailing’ lays out a pathway – a phased, deliberate and intentional pathway – toward resuming passenger services but only when it is safe, when (the cruise industry) can assure health and when they are responsible with respects of needs of crew passengers and port communities,” Dr. Martin Cetron, director of the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, told USA TODAY at the time.

Cetron wasn’t prepared to guess when passenger cruising would actually begin in U.S. waters. 

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