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President Biden signs the Alaska Tourism Act to allow cruise ships to visit the state this year

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

“Today I signed the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act into law. Tourism is critically important to the state of Alaska – and this bill will help revitalize the industry and support Alaskans by allowing large cruise ships to return to the state this summer.” tweeted the president Monday afternoon.

Alaska Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young introduced the bill in March, hoping it would temporarily ease restrictions in place under the Passenger Vessel Services Act.

U.S. maritime law requires international stops on foreign-flagged ships, which include the ships of many major cruise lines. The bill will allow cruise ships to sail to Alaska without requiring a stopover in Canada, which currently has a cruise ban in place that prohibits such a stopover, posing a challenge to Alaska's tourism industry and the cruise industry.

Alaska: June – August Alaska has a very short cruise season;  Ships only cross northern waters between May and September.  The months of June through August offer the warmest weather (50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit) in this chilly state, making them the best and most popular times for cruising.  May and September see some closures and a little more chill in the air (high 50s to 60s), but also the best prices.  Additionally, May is the driest month of the Alaska cruise season, so you're less likely to have your air tour, glacier hike, or other shore excursion rained out.

The Senate passed the bill unanimously this month and it was approved by the House on Thursday.

Due to the passage of the law in Congress, cruise lines have begun advertising cruises to Alaska.

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

Contributor: Maureen Groppe

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: President Biden signs bill to allow cruise ships to visit Alaska

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