Coronavirus: First Alaska cruise ship of 2020 returns after passenger tests positive

JUNEAU, Alaska — The first cruise ship of the 2020 season to leave Alaska returned to port after a passenger tested positive for the coronavirus, ship and city officials said.

Cruise line UnCruise said a passenger aboard the Wilderness Adventurer tested positive three days after the ship left port, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

“The guest is showing no symptoms and no other guests or crew are showing outward symptoms of any kind. All guests have been informed and will quarantine until the state of Alaska deems it safe for them to return home,” the cruise line said in a statement.

The passenger arrived in the state with a negative test but was retested at Juneau International Airport as part of a state order. That result, which came three days later while the passenger was aboard the ship, was positive.

The ship's 37 passengers will quarantine at a hotel. The 30 crew members will stay aboard the ship, which returned to port.

While large cruise ships have been forbidden from sailing, the Wilderness Adventurer is exempt because it has less than 250 passengers and crew.

Because of the incident, UnCruise has suspended all future 2020 departures.

“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. “With the spotlight on the cruise and small boat industry we understand there are risks in operating and travel in general. Our focal point is to continue to improve for the future of travel and our industry. We thank those that have worked rapidly to isolate and implement the appropriate processes as we determine the next steps.”

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