CLIA extends cruising pause; Alaska tour canceled by COVID

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From the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA):

(WASHINGTON) — The Cruise Lines International Association announced Wedneday that its oceangoing cruise line members have agreed to voluntarily suspend U.S. cruise operations until at least Oct. 31.

The association issued the following statement on behalf of its members:

Despite the valuable alignment between CLIA’s previous voluntary suspension to Sept. 15 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s current no-sail order date of Sept. 30, we believe it is prudent at this time to voluntarily extend the suspension of U.S. oceangoing cruise operations to Oct. 31. This is a difficult decision as we recognize the crushing impact that this pandemic has had on our community and every other industry. However, we believe this proactive action further demonstrates the cruise industry’s commitment to public health and willingness to voluntarily suspend operations in the interest of public health and safety, as has occurred twice prior. CLIA cruise line members will continue to monitor the situation with the understanding that we will revisit a possible further extension on or before Sept. 30. At the same time, should conditions in the U.S. change and it becomes possible to consider short, modified sailings, we would consider an earlier restart.

According to CLIA’s most recent Economic Impact Study, cruise activity in the United States supports nearly half a million (421,000) American jobs and generates $53 billion annually in economic activity throughout the country. Each day of the suspension of U.S. cruise operations results in a loss of up to $110 million in economic activity and 800 direct and indirect American jobs. The impact of the suspension is particularly profound in states that depend heavily on cruise tourism, including Florida, Texas, Alaska, Washington, New York and California.

From UnCruise Adventures:

(SEATTLE) — The American-owned, U.S.-flagged small-boat adventure company UnCruise Adventures confirmed Wednesday that a guest received a phone call from the state of Alaska with notification of a positive COVID-19 test while on board. At the time of receipt, the vessel Wilderness Adventurer was anchored in a secluded harbor while offboard activities were underway.

The company’s first sailing received a high level of support this past week returning to sail with energized passengers. The vessel will arrive in Juneau on Thursday and all guests will be placed at a local hotel where they will quarantine as prescribed in the company’s Alaska state-approved COVID-19 contingency plan.

“We are focusing all efforts on care of the guests, crew and the local community,” said owner and CEO Dan Blanchard. “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.”

The identified guest took the five-day testing option prior to their departure from home with a negative result as required to embark on UnCruise Adventures. A second test was taken upon arrival at the Juneau airport which then resulted in a positive. The guest is showing no symptoms and no other guests or crew are showing outward symptoms of any kind. Subsequently, all guests were informed and asked to restrict themselves to their cabins where plated meals were served.  

The company understands that this unprecedented virus requires unprecedented standards and has planned extensive operations for months in preparation to return to sail. UnCruise Adventures continues to follow its approved contingency plan moving forward. The hotel and meal costs for all guests are being paid for by the company while in quarantine in Juneau. The crew will quarantine on the vessel in port at Juneau.

The company’s top priority is to move swiftly to provide ongoing safety for the guests, crew, and the community of Juneau with Alaska state contact tracing protocols. They are working closely with Alaska state and local health officials to comply with relevant protocols and their own safety standards.

“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,” said Blanchard. “We wish to thank those that have worked rapidly to isolate and implement the appropriate processes as we determine the next steps.”

By Professional Mariner Staff