UnCruise Adventures, a U.S.-flagged, small-ship adventure company, has confirmed that it will start Alaska sailings on Aug. 1.
“As one of the first companies to restart service, this is a pivotal moment for the travel industry and Alaska,” said Dan Blanchard, UnCruise Adventures owner and CEO. “These initial departures represent a re-framing of what adventure travelers are increasingly looking for, small groups, inclusion, and human connection.”
The move offers a ray of hope for some type of Alaska cruise season this year. The Alaska season was devastated by the Canadian government’s announcement on May 29 that it was banning cruise ships carrying more than 100 people through Oct. 31.
Many Alaska cruises on large foreign-flagged ships begin in Vancouver or visit Victoria, B.C., to qualify as foreign port visits required by U.S. law. The UnCruise Alaska voyages sail in U.S. waters and will not visit ports or local communities but will focus on adventure activities, nature and wildlife.
Also, small U.S.-flagged operators are exempt from the no-sail order issued by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The no-sail order impacts vessels with at least 250 people onboard. UnCruise operates boutique yachts and small boats that carry 22 to 86 guests. The CDC no-sail order is in effect until July 24 or until the COVID-19 pandemic is deemed over.
The first Alaska sailing is a seven-night Glacier Bay National Park Adventure operating roundtrip from Juneau with an enhanced wilderness itinerary on the 60-passenger Wilderness Adventurer.
The itinerary includes two days in Glacier Bay which, free from a large-ship presence all season, will lead to a solitude not experienced in decades in Southeast Alaska. The voyage will include remote wilderness hikes, shoreline kayaks, and other nature-based activities.