Currently, the Disney Wonder should be in the middle of her summer in Alaska, sailing 7-night itineraries out of Vancouver, Canada. Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Canada banned large ships at their ports through October 31st, dashing any hopes of an Alaskan cruise season.
With some Canadian experts predicting that the border won’t open until sometime next year, the question now is will the Wonder even be able to return to Vancouver as scheduled in May of 2021?
While the ports are closed through October 31, other non-essential travel to Canada from the United States is banned through August 21st, with that date being reviewed every 30 days.
Canadians, however, don’t think the border should be open anytime soon and several experts that CBC News spoke to agree.
CBC also spoke with U.S. Immigration lawyer Len Saunders, who lives in Washington near the Canadian border. Saunders speculates that the border could stay closed for another six months.
There’s really no reason why the Canadian government, at this point, would want to open it up and subject Canadians to an increased rate of COVID infections.
Economist Moshe Lander, a professor at Concordia University in Montreal paints an even bleaker picture, predicting the border will stay closed through mid to late 2021.
As long as Canadians don’t feel safe, then why force open that border when there’s no strong political logic to doing it.
Lander adds that it would be “political suicide.”
In a survey that was conducted in July, 86% of the 1,500 Canadians surveyed were against the border reopening by the end of that month. With COVID-19 rates still high in several states, it’s unlikely that the sentiment has changed.
Now, it’s possible that the Wonder could sail out of Seattle, as it did back in 2012, instead of Vancouver. That would certainly make it easier for U.S. residents to get to the ship.
The issue, however, is that Disney is still required to abide by the rules of the Jones Act, which forces all ships that are not flagged in the U.S. to visit at least foreign port before returning to the United States. The Disney Wonder and its sister ships are registered in the Bahamas.
Typically ships leaving from Seattle will visit Victoria, British Columbia on their way home from Alaska, which won’t be possible until Canada opens their borders and their ports.
What do you think? Will we see an Alaska season in 2021?
The good news is that Disney Cruise Line has been very cooperate and generous with cruises that have been cancelled, offering guests a 125% credit on a future cruise. If you have questions about booking a 2021 Alaska sailing, contact the experts at Dreams Unlimited Travel who will be happy to provide you more details.