Alaska's summer cruise season—or at least a good chunk of it—may happen after all with the U.S. Senate's passage of a bill temporarily setting aside the rules that prevent foreign-flagged ships from sailing between U.S. ports without a foreign stop in the itinerary.
The bill, sponsored by Alaska's two senators, waives that part of the 1886 Passenger Vessel Services Act through February, 2022. It passed by unanimous consent, and is very likely to be quickly approved by the House of Representatives for signature by the President.
The issue is critical for Alaska, whose coastal towns rely heavily on tourism. All of the large cruise ships that offer Alaska cruises are foreign-flagged and either sail from or stop in Canadian ports, but Canada has banned cruise ships from its ports until sometime next year.
If passed and signed, cruise lines will still need time to get ships and crews ready, and line up their passengers; mid-July is likely the earliest possible date for cruises to start.