ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – It was a sight for sore eyes this morning for Anchorage residents as a cruise ship approached the Port of Alaska for the first time in two years.
On Thursday morning around 10 a.m. the Holland America Cruise cruise line ship Nieuw Amsterdam docked a the port. This is the first cruise ship that has stopped in Anchorage since the COVID-19 pandemic and will be the only ship seen this season according to Visit Anchorage Community Engagement Director Jack Bonney.
“Today is a little bit unusual compared to the rest of the summer season,” Bonney said. “This is the one time that cruise ship calls directory to the port of Anchorage. Most of the cruise visitation that Anchorage sees comes through the ports of Seward or Whittier.”
Passengers anxiously waited on board for their opportunity to depart the ship, ready to hit vacation mode.
“Oh, very, very excited. Are you kidding,” said passenger Angela Bellwood. “They make our food. They make our beds.”
“They make everything for us,” Regisann Myton said.
Bellwood and Myton were excited to explore the downtown Anchorage sights.
“It’s a little chillier than I thought,” Myton said.
“It’s bigger than I thought it would be,” Bellwood said. “It’s a quite bustling city.”
After a two-year dry spell caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the ship’s stop in Anchorage provided the city with a last-minute economic tourism boost for the city at the end of the typical tourist season.
“For a port of call this is a really long one by Alaska standards and by most of the world. So there is an opportunity to do a little bit more here in Anchorage. Even during a port of call that only lasts a single day,” Bonney said. “So things like restaurants, gift shops, day tours, this is a really big deal for them because its something that you can do in a day.”
However, Bonney said that the tourist activity Anchorage saw this summer shows a bounce back from pandemic lows.
“2021 I think turned out a little bit better than we expected and 2022 is on track to be a really big year and maybe even equal a couple of benchmarks,” Bonney said.
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