Juneau, Alaska (AP) —The first large cruise ship of the season has arrived in Alaska. This marks the beginning of what industry and tourism officials expect to have a stronger travel year after the two pandemic stunt seasons.
The Norwegian Cruise Line ship, Norwegian Bliss, arrived on Monday at a dock in an industrial area near the edge of downtown Juneau. A line of buses and vans was at hand to drive away passengers. The weather was cool and miserable, and it was drizzle.
Ranny Downs, a spokesman for the Alaska Cruise Lines International Association, said the industry group is looking forward to the “full season” with hundreds of voyages planned.
In 2019, she said there were 1.3 million cruise ship passengers in Alaska. Due to the pandemic, no large vessels set sail for Alaska in 2020. Last year, she said in an email that a large vessel carrying more than 250 people had about 116,000 passengers.
Alexandra Pierce, Tourism Manager for the City of Juneau and the Autonomous Region, said the city had a “bigger, more necessary conversation” about management and capacity issues and “what we look like as a future tourism community.” Said that.
“That said, I’m really relieved for many small businesses that rely on tourism,” she added later. I have been working there for several years. “
Pierce said the ship was not expected to fill up, especially early in the season. She said Juneau officials estimated that this year they would get about one million visitors from cruise ships.