Sens. Murkowski and Sullivan welcome CDC announcement on guidelines for Alaska cruise ship season

Cruise ship docked in Juneau
Cruise ship docked in Juneau
Published: Apr. 3, 2021 at 10:51 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Centers for Disease Control recently released new guidelines for cruise ships, opening the door a bit further for those looking to reopen the industry to consumers.

“Until today,” said Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, in a prepared statement, “the cruise industry has been one of the only industries completely precluded from resuming operations.”

After being briefed by the CDC on its Framework for Conditional Sailing Order published on Friday, Murkowski and Sullivan expressed their hopes for a reopening in a joint statement.

“Without cruise ship passengers, Alaska’s tourism-dependent businesses and communities have endured well over a year of lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions,” the senators wrote “This lack of guidance on how to safely resume operations has created a dramatic negative ripple effect on Alaska families, businesses, ports, and communities that rely on the cruise industry and its passengers.”

The pair added that they have been urging the CDC to release any “actionable safe cruising guidance for months, recognizing how vital cruise travel is to Alaska’s extensive tourism economy.”

According to a press release sent out by the U.S. Senate office, the cruise ship industry not only provides thousands of jobs to small businesses, in a regular-season the industry brings in more than one billion dollars to Alaska each year.

“There is still a lot of work for the cruise lines and our port communities to do to implement the CDC instructions issued today,” the senators’ release continued, “but we are encouraged by [...] projections that, with this guidance and timely implementation of the next phases, we could see cruise ships in U.S. waters as early as mid-summer.”

The framework for the conditional sailing order is as follows:

Phase 1: Mass testing and lab capacity building

Phase 2A: Voyage preparation

Phase 2B: Simulated (trial) passenger voyages

Phase 3: Conditional sailing certification

Phase 4: Restricted passenger voyages

RELATED: New CDC guidelines provide hope that portion of Alaska cruise season can be saved

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