First Alaska Cruise of the Season Abruptly Ends When Passenger Tests Positive

Small ship cruise operator UnCruise Adventures confirmed on Tuesday night in Alaska that a passenger onboard Wilderness Adventurer has tested positive for COVID-19.  

Alaska cruise aboard Wilderness Adventurer abruptly ends when passenger tests positive for corornavirus.
Wilderness Adventurer

First Alaska Cruise Cut Short by COVID-19 Positive Test Result

According to the City and Borough of Juneau, the passenger followed protocol for travel to Alaska for the cruise.  This passenger had their first coronavirus test done five days prior to departure from home.  It showed a negative result.  Another test would be needed.  The initial test was taken more than the required 72-hours from departure. 

The required second test was taken at the Juneau airport.  The positive result was returned four days later.  By then, the ship had already departed from Juneau and was in the middle of a hopeful seven-day cruise.

Alaska cruise passenger receives positive test results

Not even halfway through the Alaska cruise, the passenger was notified by phone of the positive result.  As of Tuesday night, August 4, the guest showed no symptoms and none of the other guests or crew had any outward symptoms.  

The ship returned to Juneau today, Wednesday morning.  All guests will quarantine at a local Juneau hotel.  Similarly, crew will quarantine aboard the vessel in Juneau.  

Alaska cruise to Glacier Bay ends when passenger tests positive for coronavirus.
Marjerie Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park Alaska. Mt. Fairweather is in the background.

This was to be the first of six seven-night Alaska cruises for UnCruise Adventures in this already-shortened Alaska cruise season.  The itinerary did not include any port visits.  Instead, passengers would spend two full days cruising pristine Glacier Bay. 

Entrance Sign to Glacier Bay Alaska

Hiking in the Tongass National Forest, kayaking and other outdoor activities would fill the remaining days.  UnCruise Adventures’ CEO Dan Blanchard helped devise this itinerary so that no Alaskan communities would be accidentally impacted by an infected passenger. 

The crew underwent training in safety protocols to help ensure the health of all aboard.  Public spaces required masks, except when eating.  In addition, hand sanitizer stations were plentiful.  

What’s next for passengers and crew 

UnCruise Adventures is working with the City and Borough of Juneau Emergency Operations Center, the State of Alaska Emergency Operations Center, Public Health Officials and the U.S. Coast Guard.  Passengers and crew could be under quarantine for 14 days unless the State of Alaska decides to change the length of quarantine. 

As the result of this passenger’s positive coronavirus case aboard Wilderness Adventurer, the cruise line has canceled all future Alaska cruise departures for this season.  Also canceling departures for the entire Alaska cruise season are small ship companies Alaskan Dream Cruises and American Cruise Line. 

What to do if your UnCruise Adventure Cruise was canceled

The cruise line’s website states that if your Alaska cruise aboard Wilderness Adventurer was canceled, you or your travel agent will be notified.  Whether or not cash refunds or future cruise credits will be issued was not yet posted on their website. 

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