Aa cruise ship passenger photographs a ship in Juneau’s downtown harbor in August 2017. (Michal Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Aa cruise ship passenger photographs a ship in Juneau’s downtown harbor in August 2017. (Michal Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Seattle cruise operations postponed indefinitely

This follows the closing of Vancouver to cruise ships.

The Port of Seattle is suspending cruises indefinitely.

In a release, the port announced cruise season was on hold until “the resolution of the public health emergency” of the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, the port had canceled some early cruises.

“The loss and impact of these sailings will ripple through the tourism industry and our regional economy—however, we understand the Port of Seattle’s hard but necessary decision,” said Tom Norwalk, Visit Seattle President and CEO, in a press release. “We appreciate the Port’s commitment to re-evaluate the 2020 cruise season as the situation evolves, and Visit Seattle will help lead the economic recovery and work in tandem with the Port of Seattle.”

The move follows a decision by the Port of Vancouver to close its harbor to all vessels with more than 500 onboard. Owing to the Jones Act, this means that all cruise traffic to Juneau is effectively curtailed until Vancouver reopens its port.

“The eventual return of our cruise season is something we fully expect as an important contribution to living wage jobs, local small businesses, and our region’s economic recovery,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Peter Steinbrueck in a release. “We also recognize the critical role Seattle cruise plays in supporting the Alaska economy for over 20 years.”

Much of Juneau’s economy depends on tourists arriving during the summer season. With the sudden cancellation of over half the season to control the spread of the coronavirus, many businesses are expecting a lean season.

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