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President Biden signs Alaska tourism act to allow cruise ships to visit the state this year

President Joe Biden signed the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act into law, which allows cruise ships to visit Alaska.

"Today, I signed the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act into law. Tourism is vital to the state of Alaska – and this law will help revitalize the industry and support Alaskans by allowing large cruise ships to return to the state this summer," the president tweeted Monday afternoon. Republican Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and

Republican Alaska Rep. Don Young introduced the legislation in March, hoping it would temporarily relieve restrictions in place as a result of the Passenger Vessel Services Act.

U.S. maritime law requires international stops on ships flagged in foreign countries, which includes many major cruise lines' ships. The law will allow cruise ships to sail to Alaska without requiring a stop in Canada, which currently has a ban on cruising, prohibiting such a stop, posing a challenge to Alaska's tourism industry and the cruise industry.  

The Senate unanimously passed the bill this month, and it was approved by the House of Representatives Thursday.  As a result of the legislation's approval within Congress, cruise lines have begun announcing sailings that visit Alaska.

Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Corp. lines Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Line have all announced plans to resume cruising this summer, including some voyages to Alaska.

Contributing: Maureen Groppe

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