(5:05 p.m. EDT) -- Princess Cruises has canceled additional cruises in August while still trying to preserve a portion of the Alaska cruise season, the company announced Wednesday.
Princess canceled sailings on Ruby Princess and Caribbean Princess through August 21, and sailings on its newest ship, Enchanted Princess for the remainder of its 2021 Mediterranean season. The company hasn't yet announced when the new ship will debut.
At the same time, the cruise line announced it still is in discussion with U.S. and Canadian government officials as it tries to salvage a portion of the 2021 Alaska season, which has been tenuous since Transport Canada announced a ban on cruise ships lasting until February 2022. By law, cruise ships leaving from a U.S. port most visit a foreign port before returning to the United States. For Alaska cruises, that has meant a stop in Canada.
Cruising has been on pause since March 2020, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention have issued guidelines around a return to sailing, called the Conditional Sail Order. Over the past few weeks, cruise lines have been meeting regularly with the CDC with the aim of a resumption by mid-summer. The CDC has essentially outlined two paths to return: One that requires a series of test sailings and another that allows cruise ships to bypass testing if crew and passengers are vaccinated. Wednesday, the CDC issued revised guidance for those cruise lines that elect to take the vaccination route.
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"We continue to have constructive discussions with the CDC but still have many questions that remain unanswered. We are working diligently to resume sailing in the U.S. and meet the CDC guidelines," Princess Cruises President Jan Swartz said. "We know our guests are just as eager as we are to begin sailing, and we appreciate their patience as we get close to resuming cruising."
Princess Cruises is a stalwart in Alaska, offering a variety of cruises to the area with land options that take guests to the line's resorts. In 2021, Princess has offered land-only packages, something not generally available to cruisers in a typical season