The first Alaska cruise of the already abridged season was abruptly cut short this week after a positive coronavirus case from a passenger on board.
A passenger aboard the Wilderness Adventurer received a positive COVID-19 test result on Tuesday, the UnCruise Adventures line said on its website. After the positive test, the cruise line said it has decided to suspend all future Alaska departures for the year.
The trip was cut short, the ship returned to Juneau on Wednesday and guests and crew members will quarantine on the ship in Gastineau Channel, off of Juneau's downtown, The Associated Press reported.
The guest who tested positive is showing no symptoms, the cruise line said, and no other guests or crew are showing “outward symptoms of any kind.”
“We wish to emphasize that UnCruise Adventures sees providing a safe and responsive environment for all travelers as imperative. All precautions were taken, as supported by public health authorities and interim guidelines,” the company said.
UnCruise Adventures noted that it is exempt from the no-sail order put in place by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which applies to ships with more than 250 passengers.
The Wilderness Adventurer had 36 guests and 30 crew members, according to the AP.
“When we set sail last Saturday we had many loyal guests, an energized crew, and much of the general public rooting for us. This is not a development we’d hoped for but I’m proud that my team has shown their commitment to the safety of our operation and have managed the event expeditiously,” UnCruise Adventures owner and operator Dan Blanchard told the AP.
“From an industry standpoint, people were hoping we’d lead the way and were hopeful for our less than 40-person group departures. We will continue to adapt to this evolution and look towards a new day,” Blanchard added.
The company confirmed to the AP that the guest took a five-day testing option before leaving home and received a negative test, as required to get on board the ship. However, the person took another test at the Juneau airport, which came back positive, according to the newswire.