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Coronavirus US: Alaskan cruise line cancels trips after case

Alaska’s first cruise of 2020 has already had to cancel early after one of the passengers on the small tour tested positive for the coronavirus. 

UnCruise Adventures’ Wilderness Adventure departed on Saturday but will return to Juneau on Wednesday. 

From there, travelers who were onboard the cruise will quarantine in a hotel, SeaTrade Cruise News reports. 

There were 37 passengers on board the cruise for the inaugural trip of the season, with 30 crew also on the small vessel.

UnCruise was the only cruise line expected to operate for the season but all future cruises have been cancelled, including a planned five-week-long Glacier Bay journey.  

The infected passenger was called on Tuesday and told of the news concerning the positive test.

The ship had been anchored in a scheduled harbor for offboard activities when the unidentified man received the call. 

He had been travelling with four others and had taken a five-day test prior to leaving his home. The test results for that test came back negative, which allowed him to embark on the Wilderness Adventure. 

It was after the man took a second test, upon arriving at the Alaskan airport, that he tested positive for the virus.  

‘We are focusing all efforts on care of the guests, crew and the local community,’ UnCruise owner and CEO Capt. Dan Blanchard said. 

‘This is very discouraging news and not what we had hoped for, but we’ll deal with it professionally. The guests are taking the news well, and the crew has executed our contingency plan quickly.’

Blanchard added that the company was now following contact tracing protocols set up by the state.  

‘With the spotlight on the cruise and small boat industry we understand there are risks in operating, and travel in general. With months of preparation, we were still able to pivot quickly in response to this event,’ Blanchard said. ‘We wish to thank those that have worked rapidly to isolate and implement the appropriate processes as we determine the next steps.’ 

The cruise line will pay for hotel and meal costs for the guests. The crew will stay onboard the Wilderness Adventure in Juneau during the quarantine.  

Since April 9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a no-sail order on most U.S. cruise ships. The. order has recently been extended to September 30, according to their website. 

More than 100 cruise ships in US waters suffered COVID-19 outbreaks and almost 3,000 passengers and crew were infected with the virus, data released in June reveals. 

However, that number has been disputed by cruise line companies who have accused the CDC of an ‘overcount’.

The CDC number includes ‘clinically compatible’ cases that were thought to have been COVID-19, but were not confirmed by a lab test.

The positive case on the Alaskan cruise comes a few days after at least 40 passengers and crew from a luxury Norwegian cruise liner were diagnosed with coronavirus.

The cases were uncovered on board the MS Roald Amundsen after a passenger who took a trip on the vessel in mid-July tested positive last week. 

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