Update for Alaska Travelers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Amidst the disruption, fear, and isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is also the disappointment of potentially having to delay or cancel your plans to travel to Alaska. While giving up your summer vacation may not be the hardest part of this challenging time, we understand how difficult it is to cancel the plans you’ve had to travel to Alaska, a trip you’ve potentially been looking forward to for a long time.

If it does not look like you will be able to take your vacation as planned, we are here to help you to evaluate your options such as rescheduling your Alaska trip or cancelling. Please call or email us with your questions (or to discuss Plan B, C or D) as we sort through this time of uncertainty together. To review our special cancellation policy for reservations affected by the coronavirus  (whether due to health concerns, travel restrictions, or financial difficulties), please view our Terms and Conditions.

Latest Alaska COVID-19 Updates

Our top priority right now is keeping everyone safe and stationary. If your trip is affected by closures, we will contact you promptly.


  • All travelers to Alaska required to quarantine for 14 days. If you are a visitor or worker, your designated quarantine location is your hotel room or rented lodging. (Currently effective March 25 through June 2)
  • All Alaska state mandates were lifted May 23. Masks, physical distancing, and additional sanitation are encouraged. Local cities and private businesses can enforce stricter rules.
  • Starting May 18, virus testing is mandatory for some arriving passengers at Anchorage and Fairbanks airports.

USA National News

  • “No sail” order for cruise ships (Currently effective for ships of 250 passengers or more, from April 15 through July 24, unless rescinded earlier)
  • US / Canadian border closed to non-essential travel until June 21.

News about Alaska Tourism Services

  • Alaska Railroad has delayed their opening date to July 1, 2020
  • Glacier Bay Lodge and Glacier Bay Day Tour will be closed/will not operate for the summer of 2020
  • Katmai National Park has delayed the Brooks Falls / Brooks Lodge opening date to July 1, 2020
  • Holland America Line and Princess Cruises have cancelled their 2020 programs. Other cruise lines have also pushed back their Alaska sailing dates. Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Disney all plan to resume operations in August. Please check with your cruise line for specifics.

Brighten Your Day: Dive Into Alaska From Home

Not being able to travel to Alaska in the short term doesn’t mean you have to give up on your Alaska dream! When the pandemic is over – and we will beat this together – Alaska will be here, as pristine and vibrant as ever.

Right now, everyone is yearning for some good news and something to look forward to so… even though we know it’s not the same as being here in person, this is a great time to experience Alaska virtually through books, shows, and social media. We’d like to share some of our personal favorites with you!

Books to Read: Alaska Tours “Editors Picks” & Reading List

  • Whale Snow by Debby Edwardson – a children’s picture book about traditional Iñupiaq life
  • Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George – a great fiction book for elementary school kids about the intersection of traditional and modern life in Alaska
  • Blessings Bead by Debby Edwardson – a young adult historical fiction novel about the meaning of family and finding a place in the world
  • Two Old Women by Velma Wallis – a women vs. nature novel based on a traditional Athabascan legend
  • Sailor Song by Ken Kesey – a fun, mildly dark fiction story about the clash between local hippies and Hollywood
  • Drop City by T.C. Boyle – an entertaining novel about moving to Alaska to start a utopic commune in the wilderness
  • To Build a Fire by Jack London – a short story of a man and a dog trying to survive a journey
  • The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey – a mesmerizing, tear-jerker novel based in 1920’s Alaska
  • Ordinary Wolves by Seth Kantner – a fictional coming-of-age story about a caucasian boy growing up in an Alaska Native village
  • Alaska by James Michener – this historical fiction novel takes you on an engaging saga that covers centuries of Alaska’s history
  • One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey by Sam Keith – Dick Proenneke’s memoir about living in the wilderness that has become Lake Clark National Park, also made into the PBS documentary Alone in the Wilderness
  • Coming into the Country by John McPhee – true stories of Alaskan land development and protection in the formative decade of the 1970s (this book got three votes!)
  • Only in Alaska by Tay Thomas – an autobiography about moving her family to Alaska and the hilarious changes to their daily lives
  • Last Light Breaking by Nick Jans – 23 firsthand, poetic essays about life in the land of the Iñupiaq
  • A School Teacher in Old Alaska: The Story of Hannah Breece edited by Jane Jacobs – an autobiographical account of a rural teacher during the Gold Rush era
  • To the Arctic by Florian Schulz – a gorgeous coffee table book
  • Riversong Lodge Cookbook by Kirsten Dixon – a mix of storytelling and recipes, giving you a delicious taste of Alaska

What We’re Watching: Recommended Alaska Films, TV Shows and Videos

  • Into the Wild – a Sean Penn adaptation of the book about Christopher McCandless’s escape from civilization to Denali
  • Never Cry Wolf – a favorite Disney movie from our childhoods about a researcher in the Arctic
  • The Proposal – a charming rom-com set in Sitka starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds
  • Togo – a new Disney movie about sled dogs saving a community during a deadly diphtheria outbreak
  • Balto – a 1995 animated film about the same famous serum run to save lives during the 1925 diphtheria outbreak
  • Big Miracle – a heartwarming based-on-a-true-story whale rescue (our old office was part of the set!)
  • White Fangthe classic Jack London novel starring a young Ethan Hawke
  • The Call of the Wild – a brand new version of another Jack London adventure
  • Mardy Murie: Arctic Dance – a documentary of her life, narrated by Harrison Ford with music by John Denver
  • Bears – an impressive Disney documentary about a year-in-the-life of a bear family in Katmai National Park
  • Northern Exposure – Not filmed in Alaska, but a fun 90’s sitcom that’s a good representation of life in the north
  • Ultimate Survival Alaska­ – a Nat Geo reality competition in the wilds of Alaska
  • Gold Rush – Discovery Channel’s reality show about mining near Haines
  • Molly of Denali – a PBS Kids cartoon paired with games and activities
  • Deadliest Catch – the harrowing and entertaining reality show about crab fishing in Alaska

Surf the Web: Browse Fun Places to Hang Out in Alaska Online

Thank You to Our Wonderful Clients

As we all deal with these difficult circumstances, our team members at Alaska Tours are working remotely from our homes and juggling our kids and trips to the grocery store – just like you are. We are keeping ourselves motivated by sharing stories from our clients, some of whom have taken the time to be incredibly gracious as you adjust your travel plans with our help.

Thanks to our clients who have shared some wonderful comments, just like these…

Thank you so much for working with us. I can tell you we will be contacting you guys next year for a trip as this company has done such an excellent job of working with us during this time and we really do want to take the tour offered. Thank you again! – Monica 

Always a pleasure to work with professionals such as you. We will certainly keep you and our plans for our eventual cruise to Alaska whenever the world cleans up. – Rick and Linda 

Many thanks for your answer and your understanding. Next time, when we’ll come in Alaska, without hesitation we’ll to contact you for a trip. Take care, too. – Didier 

Once again, thank you for all your wonderful help with all aspects of our trip. You do a great job and are such a nice person! I would love to hear from you in September and we can see if this virus has been whacked into place and out of our worries! – Nancy

Just wanted to send you a note to say I am thinking of you in this crazy and surreal time. We are so happy we had our dream trip last year, and so grateful for all your help in making it happen. I hope you are safe and healthy. – Kris

Stay safe, stay well, stay kind, stay sane – and we’ll see you soon – up in Alaska!