A boutique cruise ship company says it’s canceled Friday’s port call in Ketchikan due to the community’s spike in COVID-19 cases.
The UnCruise Legacy, carrying 50-odd passengers, would have been Ketchikan’s first cruise ship since 2019.
An UnCruise representative confirmed in a statement that the cancellation was due to Ketchikan’s rising number of COVID-19 infections, with more than 100 active cases as of Thursday.
“In a recent change, a decision was made in the last 12 hours to forego the port stop in Ketchikan due to the increase in COVID cases. We are saddened that we will not be able to return to the community at this time and look forward to returning as soon as it is the safest choice for everyone,” UnCruise’s Liz Galloway said in an email Thursday.
Ketchikan officials raised the community’s pandemic risk level to its highest rating this week. As of Thursday, 102 COVID-19 cases are active in the community of about 14,000 — an all-time high. The area’s positivity rate is now above 5%, another record level. Two Ketchikan schools are closed to in-person learning, and a third is running at half capacity.
Small ships have resumed sailing the Inside Passage, but large cruise ships remain on hold pending the approval of federal health officials and Canada, which continues to bar visits to its ports.
A measure that would allow large ships to bypass Canada passed the U.S. Senate on Thursday. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the bill means cruise lines could return to Alaska in July.
Another small UnCruise vessel is scheduled to arrive in Ketchikan May 22.