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Cruise Ships That Are Sailing in Alaska This Summer

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Thanks to the bipartisan support in the passing of the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act, cruise lines are now moving full speed ahead with planning Alaska cruises beginning in July 2021.

By eliminating the requirement that non-US flagged ships make a stop in a Canadian port, the Restoration Act makes roundtrip seven-night Inside Passage cruises from Seattle a viable option, bypassing Victoria and/or Vancouver, British Columbia, for the first time ever.

norwegian bliss in seattle

Norwegian Bliss in Seattle (Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

To operate these cruises without first sailing “test voyages” required under the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Conditional Sailing Order, cruise lines are requiring all eligible passengers to present proof of vaccination to sail. Currently, vaccinations in the United States are only available to kids 12 and over.

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity will allow younger passengers to cruise if they present a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding. Carnival, Holland America, Norwegian, and Princess, however, are requiring all passengers to be fully vaccinated, meaning children under 12 will not be able to sail at all.

This far from normal Alaska season is offering a narrow window for one group of potential passengers: U.S. citizens who have a DUI or other serious offense on their records can take an Alaska cruise for the first, and perhaps, only time. Typically, Canada refuses to admit Americans with DUIs or other types of felonies (sometimes they do allow exceptions that require extra paperwork for entry). Since, until this summer, Alaska cruisers were required to depart from or make a stop in Canada, these cruisers were (technically) barred from sailing north to Alaska. Without the required stop in British Columbia, these passengers can sail to take in the natural beauty of one of the most amazing cruise destinations for the first time.

glacier bay National park alaska

Glacier Bay National Park (Photo courtesy of Holland America Line)

These cruises also might be the best time for passengers who are less fond of sailing with kids to embark on ships that will be devoid of the youngest passengers, and likely have fewer teenagers than a typical summer voyage. And, due to the much later than normal start to the Alaska season, ships will be sailing later into September and even October than is typically the case. For those wanting to experience a cooler, drier Alaska by cruise, this year also presents a unique opportunity.

Though it’s unclear on the exact protocols that will be observed onboard ships and in port in the Pacific Northwest — as these are still being finalized by the cruise lines and subject to review by the CDC — it’s likely masks and social distancing will be required (though Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain is optimistic they won’t be), buffet and meal services will almost certainly be modified, and capacity will be reduced.

Here are all the ships currently scheduled to sail to Alaska in Summer 2021.

Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas

  • Sailing Mondays July 19 to September 20, 2021
  • 7-night cruises visiting Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point and scenic cruising at Endicott Arm Fjord and Dawes Glacier
  • Requirements: Passengers 16 and older must be vaccinated against COVID-19 for all sailings; beginning August 1, all passengers 12 and older must be vaccinated. Underage passengers will be tested for COVID-19 prior to sailing.

Celebrity Summit

  • Sailing Fridays July 23 to September 17, 2021
  • 7 night cruises visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and scenic cruising at Endicott Arm Fjord and Dawes Glacier
  • Requirements: Passengers 16 and older must be vaccinated against COVID-19 for all sailings; beginning August 1, all passengers 12 and older must be vaccinated. Underage passengers will be tested for COVID-19 prior to sailing.

Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam

  • Sailing Saturdays July 24 to September 25, 2021
  • 7 night cruises visiting Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Icy Straight Point, and scenic cruising in Glacier Bay National Park and Stephens Passage
  • Requirements: All passengers must have been vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to departure, and present proof of vaccination.
alaska cruise holland america line

Passengers on Nieuw Amsterdam in Alaska (Photo courtesy of Nancy Schretter)

READ MORE: Alaska Glacier Cruises Explained: All You Need To Know

Majestic Princess

  • Sailing Sundays July 25 to September 26, 2021
  • 7 night cruises visiting Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and scenic cruising in Glacier Bay National Park
  • Requirements: All passengers must have been vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to departure, and present proof of vaccination.

Carnival Miracle

  • Sailing Tuesdays July 27 to September 14, 2021
  • 7 night cruises visiting Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and scenic cruising in Tracy Arm Fjord; the September 14 cruise is 8 nights and also visits Icy Straight Point
  • Requirements: All passengers must have been vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to departure, and present proof of vaccination.

Norwegian Bliss

  • Sailings Saturdays August 7 to October 9, 2021
  • 7 Night Cruises visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait Point, and scenic cruising in Endicott Arm Fjord and Dawes Glacier; or, visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway with scenic cruising in Glacier Bay National Park. Note: Norwegian’s official itineraries currently list a port call in Victoria, British Columbia for these cruises, but the port is expected to be bypassed due to Canada’s ban on large cruise ships and the passage of the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act

Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas

  • Sailing Fridays August 13 to September 10, 2021
  • 7 night cruises visiting Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, Icy Strait Point, and scenic cruising at Endicott Arm Fjord and Dawes Glacier
  • Requirements: Passengers 12 and older must be vaccinated against COVID-19. Underage passengers will be tested for COVID-19 prior to sailing.
ovation of the seas north star observation capsule

The North Star observation capsule on Ovation of the Seas (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Silversea’s Silver Muse

  • Sailing Thursdays and Sundays starting July 29, 2021
  • 10 and 11-night cruises visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Wrangell, Skagway, Sitka, and scenic cruising at Sawyer Glacier and Mendenhall Glacier
  • Requirements: All passengers must have been vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to departure, and present proof of vaccination.

While travelers are excited about the chance to sail to Alaska, tourism-dependent businesses in the state are even more thrilled after suffering a brutal 2020 with no cruise passengers and very few tourists.

“Alaskans are ready to welcome visitors from across the globe to Alaska, where they can personally experience the scenic and cultural wonders that can only be found here,” Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy said.

Unfortunately, cruise tours to Denali National Park are not on the schedule this year, but there will still be plenty of opportunities to see humpback whales, sea otters, black and brown bears, bald eagles, and more.

READ NEXT: Alaska Inside Passage Cruises: What You Need to Know

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