Even people arriving on multimillion-dollar megayachts are subject to Alaska’s COVID-19 travel mandates

The Bravo Eugenia as seen from Douglas Island. (Photo by Elizabeth Jenkins/KTOO)

There are no cruise ships in Juneau so far this summer, but recently a giant vessel owned by a Texas billionaire pulled into port — a private cruise ship of sorts. 

Travelers who fly into Alaska have to follow state mandates, like submitting a COVID-19 test. But what about visitors who arrive by boat or luxury yacht? Juneau’s harbor master Matt Creswell says they’re on the hook to follow those rules, too. 

Creswell recently became the harbor master at the City and Borough of Juneau docks and harbors. 

“It’s been interesting, I took over as the harbor master in early March when all of this began and was looking forward to a busy cruise ship season, and my role quickly changed,” Creswell said.

He’s now in charge of making sure travelers who arrive by boat from outside of Alaska are abiding by the state’s travel mandates. That usually starts with some kind of check-in when they arrive in port. Passengers can agree to take a COVID-19 test. But Creswell says there are other ways to fulfill the mandate. 

“It’s not necessarily receiving a COVID-19 test. It’s the travel declaration form,” Creswell said. “And that’s where the traveler has the option to say they have tested 72 hours prior to and will follow guidelines upon arrival in Alaska.”

Or, he says if passengers have been on board a ship for two weeks without disembarking, that counts as self-quarantine. Of course, that shouldn’t be too hard with access to amenities like a floating spa.

But what about the 357-foot Bravo Eugenia tied up in a private dock in downtown Juneau? That boat belongs to Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys. Creswell couldn’t comment who was on board the ship. However, he said the passengers complied with state mandates.

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