Last Saturday, August 1, the first cruise ship to sail Southeast Alaska for the short 2020 season departed from Juneau. Small ship cruise company, UnCruise Adventures created a new seven-night adventure-themed cruise specifically to cruise during a pandemic.
First Alaska cruise of the 2020 Season gets underway
Sailing aboard Wilderness Adventurer, guests will visit areas in Southeast Alaska that even during a “normal” year, wouldn’t be included in a cruise.
Though the ship can accommodate up to 60 guests, it departed on the first cruise with only 37 guests and 29 crew. Because it is a small ship and a U.S. flagged ship, the company can get around the CDC’s No Sail Order. The Alaska cruise season was all but scuttled except for Wilderness Adventurer.
“As one of the first companies to restart service, this is a pivotal moment for the travel industry and Alaska,” states UnCruise Adventures Owner and CEO Dan Blanchard. “These initial departures represent a re-framing of what adventure travelers are increasingly looking for, small groups, inclusion, and human connection.”
Alaska health mandates require that Covid-19 tests are taken by all travelers 72-hours before departure to Alaska.
[At the time of this sailing, if a visitor’s test was taken longer than 72 hours before departure, a second test is administered at the Alaskan airport. This could mean that with results taking from 3 – 10 days, cruise passengers could come and go before test results are returned.]
UnCruise Creates new adventure itinerary without any port visits
Wilderness Adventurer won’t be stopping at any Southeast Alaska ports during the 2020 cruise season. The new itinerary is named, “Glacier Bay National Park Adventure Cruise.” Rather than visit the usual popular cruise ports Ketchikan, Sitka, Petersburg or Kake, the small ship will instead cruise the southeast with two full days in Glacier Bay. There will be plenty of kayaking, hiking, and getting to spend time in places that are usually not part of any small ship itinerary.
UnCruise has implemented a laundry list of COVID-19 safety protocols specifically for the 2020 Alaska cruise season
- Daily temperature checks for guests and crew.
- Daily sanitation of all touch points in staterooms
- Sanitation rounds four times each day
- Sanitation of adventure gear and equipment after each guest’s use.
- Guests to use masks during certain events and as situations may require.
- Hand sanitizing stations throughout the vessel.
- Plated meal service to replace buffets.
- Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres passed individually.
- Crew to maintain social distances at all times.
- Crew member training in COVID-19 symptom observation, identification, and reporting.
- Thorough PPE equipment training for all crew members.
- Onboard supply of personal protective equipment to include face shields, gloves, and face masks for the crew.
- Guests are requested to bring masks to last the duration of the cruise. A limited supply will also be available onboard if you forget.
What’s planned for this short Alaska cruise season
There are five more of these unique seven-night Glacier Bay departures planned from Juneau this year. This is a far cry from the anticipated 1.4 million cruisers that were expected for the 2020 Alaska cruise season.
This will be the only ship that cruises anywhere in Alaska for the entire season. Other small ship companies like Alaskan Dream Cruises and American Cruise Lines have decided to postpone until next year.
Let’s hope that everyone onboard stays safe and healthy and that the Alaska cruise season for 2020 isn’t a total wash.