Smaller cruise ships sometimes use Petersburg’s South Harbor for docking. (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

A small cruise ship company that had planned sailings in Southeast Alaska this month is pushing back its planned starting date.

American Cruise Lines has been planning voyages starting and ending in Juneau, with stops in Skagway, Haines, Petersburg, Wrangell and Ketchikan onboard the American Constellation. That ship has capacity for up to 130 people, with passenger numbers reduced for COVID-19 precautions. It had planned cruises in late June and was working with communities to come up with acceptable protocols for screening, testing, cleaning and quarantine for its passengers and crew.

The company confirmed in an email statement Thursday, June 11 that it would be delaying Alaska cruises until July 23rd.

The cruise line said, “While we understand the state’s need for testing and quarantine requirements, currently, they pose potential complications for our passengers. American looks forward to resuming cruises in Southeast Alaska very soon.”

American Cruise Lines had already notified officials in some Southeast communities.

Rorie Watt, Juneau’s city manager updated that community on KTOO radio this week.

“They submitted draft protocols — which looked pretty good honestly, looked like they were trying to do the most they could,” Watt said. “And they pushed back their start date. I’ve had a couple questions from the public: what’s Juneau’s stance on that? And our stance right now — it’s the health mandate. We want the visiting public including passengers on a small cruise ship to comply with health mandate 10. So, I don’t think we’re going to see any small cruise ships for another 6 weeks or so.”

State health mandate 10 covers quarantine and testing requirements for travelers coming into Alaska from outside the state. Many cruise ship companies have already canceled their Alaska voyages for the season.