Port of Seattle suspends cruise ship season “until the resolution of the public health emergency.”

The Norwegian Bliss arrives at Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal on its maiden voyage to Seattle on May 30, 2018. The Port of Seattle announced this week its cruise ship season would be delayed “until the resolution of the public health emergency.” (Photo courtesy Port of Seattle)

The Port of Seattle announced this week its cruise ship season would be delayed “until the resolution of the public health emergency.” It’s another variable in the indefinite suspension of Alaska’s cruise season.

According to a spokesperson with Cruise Lines International Association Alaska, cruise ships were expected to make 199 port calls in Seattle, carrying more than a million passengers. Most would have gone through Alaska.

However, the big ships were already effectively barred from sailing in Alaska after Canada closed its ports to cruise ships through July 1. That’s because of a maritime law that prohibits foreign-flagged cruise ships from exclusively visiting U.S. ports.

Cruise giant Royal Caribbean also announced a longer suspension of its global fleet this week. Due to port closures, the company says it doesn’t expect any Alaska or Canada sailings until July 1. The company had planned to send three ships to Alaska: the Ovation of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas.

Just a week earlier, Royal Caribbean was touting the 2021 debut in Alaska and Seattle of its Quantum of the Seas. A press release describes the tech-heavy vessel as the world’s “first smartship.”

Port of Seattle Commission President Peter Steinbrueck said the decision to block cruise ships from berthing followed a strong recommendation from public health officials not to let cruise ships into port.

Related: Canada closes ports to large cruise ships until July, causing ‘enormous problem’ for Alaska industry

Follow the most recent coverage of coronavirus in Alaska here

Jeremy Hsieh is the deputy managing editor of the KTOO newsroom in Juneau. He’s a podcast fiend who’s worked in journalism since high school as a reporter, editor and television producer. He ran Gavel Alaska for 360 North from 2011 to 2016, and is big on experimenting with novel tools and mediums (including the occasional animated gif) to tell stories and demystify the news. Jeremy’s an East Coast transplant who moved to Juneau in 2008.

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