How Will COVID-19 Affect My Trip?
As the calendar turned from 2020 to 2021 we started asking ourselves more often what the new season will look like in terms of COVID-19 precautions and policies. We feel that the virus is still a moving target and it’s hard to know exactly what to expect. Our hopes are that the vaccination rollout will gain momentum and the vast majority of us will be vaccinated soon. For now, we are keeping our COVID-19 policies in place. You can visit our COVID-19 policy page for more information. In the meantime, here’s what we’re working on making sure that travel aboard the David B, while the coronavirus is still an issue, is as safe as possible.
Here’s what travel will likely look like this summer:
Rescheduling: You may still reschedule a trip due to COVID without penalty, but only one more time for folks who scheduled in 2020 and just once for folks who schedule with us in 2021. We plan to return to our regular cancelation policy when vaccines become widespread. We anticipate this will happen in late summer or early fall.
Pre-Travel Preparations: We are still asking folks to take extreme caution prior to their trip through quarantine, mask-wearing, and proper hygiene. You will need to provide proof of a negative test that was taken no more than 72 hours prior to boarding. We are also looking into the possibility of requiring a second rapid test that will be administered just prior to boarding. Because it is still unknown if a vaccinated person can spread the virus we will be looking to the CDC guidelines to see if vaccinated people can skip testing or if we will need to require testing for those folks as well.
Vaccinations: Like many small and large businesses in tourism, we would like to require vaccinations for all of our passengers. However, there may be many legal implications, and there simply may not be enough vaccinations available until later spring or early summer.
Your crew, Jeffrey and Christine, will become eligible for their vaccinations in February or late March in Washington state according to the current vaccination timeline. It is our intention that the crew will be vaccinated prior to the season beginning.
Canada: Our north and southbound Learn to Cruise trips that run through Canada may have to be modified depending on when the border is open to non-essential travel. Last year Canada Customs had us stop and do a health check. We were then given permission to anchor if needed due to any weather or mechanical issues. No one was allowed to get off the boat for any reason. If this continues to be the case, our plan is to cruise up the Inside Passage in 4-6 days possibly running 24/7 and anchoring only if necessary. Once we cross the border into Alaska, we will make up the remaining days by cruising in Misty Fjords National Monument. It’s a good time of year for bear viewing, and with the reduction of cruise ships, Misty Fjords will be quiet, remote, and stunningly beautiful. We will be monitoring this closely and will likely know in March if the border will be open in late April when we leave to go north.
Alaska: Alaska’s Health Mandate for interstate travel is still in effect and requires that all travelers arriving in Alaska must take a test at least 72 hours prior to arrival in Alaska, have proof of a negative test, and fill out a health declaration. For our Northbound Learn to Cruise trip that ends in Ketchikan, Alaska allows us to count our days underway as quarantine days after people board in Bellingham with their COVID-19 negative test.
Hotels/Taxis: Last season, in an effort to protect the communities from potential exposure we asked that passengers arrive at the David B on the day of the trip and we then picked everyone up at the airport with the exception of Petersburg where taxi service or walking was acceptable. We are still working out whether this will be necessary for 2021.
What ifs: If you or another guest arrives aboard the David B and begins showing symptoms of COVID-19, you will be isolated in your cabin and the trip will end. We will return to the dock and you will be required to quarantine in a hotel at your own expense until you test negative.
Like you, we are so tired of the virus and can’t wait for it to be a memory, but while we wait for that day, we’ll continue to work hard to make sure we are doing everything we can to make your trip safe. We’ll continue to update you about changes. If you have any questions about travel this year aboard the David B, please call or email Sarah. She’s great at fielding your questions.
We look forward to seeing you on the David B!