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UnCruise mandates vaccination ahead of Alaska start, in doing so, can make port calls

'Vaccinations, combined with testing, take us to an entirely new level of safety compared to testing alone,' Capt. Dan Blanchard said
UnCruise Adventures, preparing for summer sailings in Alaska as a US-flag operator, became the latest line to mandate vaccination for crew and for passengers 18 and older.

'We are excited about the dramatic change in the availability of vaccines, thus the update to our COVID-19 policy,' Capt. Dan Blanchard, UnCruise CEO, said in a note on the company's website. 'With current and forecast vaccine distribution levels expanding rapidly, we have made the decision to require all adult guests and crew to be fully vaccinated prior to boarding our vessels (Galápagos excluded because vaccines are hard to get for the Ecuadorian crew),' the statement continued. 'The safety of our guests and crew is paramount in providing a fun, adventuresome and memorable time for all.'

PCR test also mandated

Also, at this time, a negative pre-cruise molecular test is required of all passengers within four days prior to embarking.

'My prime concern is the safety of my crew, who work on our vessels for weeks or months at a time,' Blanchard said. 'Vaccinations, combined with testing, take us to an entirely new level of safety compared to testing alone. I would be neglectful in my duties, as the owner of UnCruise Adventures, to not require vaccinations on board our vessels.'

As a US-flag operator, UnCruise Adventures expects to be one of the few cruise lines in Alaska this summer. Lindblad Expeditions and American Cruise Lines are among the others with ships that can sail domestically. 

Port calls allowed

With everyone vaccinated, Blanchard said the company will be allowed to make calls at Port Angeles, Washington, and Alaska's Ketchikan and Sitka. Previously, itineraries were focused on nature, without visits to towns.

Alaska is open

To get out the message that Alaska is open, Blanchard plans a news conference with Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy and Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon on Monday.

Alaska has the highest vaccination rate in the US.