One of the smallest cruise brands in the USA - UnCruise Adventures, restarts operations in Alaska on Saturday, August 1, with one boat only.
There have been a number of false starts this summer for the comeback of small-ship cruising in North America, with some sailings cancelled just days prior to departure. However, 60-passenger Wilderness Adventurer received permission to sail from Juneau AK late Saturday on a 7-night roundtrip to destinations in Southeast Alaska.
To allow for social distancing, the ship will sail with just 38 passengers onboard. The cruise will mark a turning point in efforts to get at least some small ships back into operation in North America.
With the exception of a pair of small sailing boats in Maine, which are not considered cruise ships, no passenger ships of any kind that offer multi-night sailings have resumed operations on the continent since cruising shut down in the middle of March due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
UnCruise Adventures is one of a handful of cruise ship operators that are allowed to restart journeys in North America. The USA's CDC agency issued a “no-sail” order for most cruise ships but exempted from the order the very smallest such as those operated by UnCruise Adventures.
Wilderness Adventurer will be the only ship the company operates in Alaska this summer. She will offer 5 departures over the next 5 weeks. In a typical summer, UnCruise Adventures has 6 or 7 of its 8 ships operating in Alaska during the summer months.
The company hopes to operate 4 departures of the 22-passenger Safari Quest on Columbia River (Pacific Northwest USA) beginning mid-September.