Sun shines on last cruise ships of the season

The Oosterdam is the last scheduled cruise ship of the season. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

The last few crowds of tourists will start to disappear after the ships leave today. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

The Westerdam made an unscheduled stop in Juneau after cancelling other port calls due to bad weather. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

The last cruise ships of Juneau’s tourist season sailed away Wednesday.

Cruise ships made more than 550 visits to Juneau this year.

Though final numbers aren’t in, Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Nancy Woizeschke  says just under a million passengers visited the capital city this summer.

“At the beginning of the season we were hoping to break the million passenger mark for the large cruise ships and that was a little optimistic. And then with the cancelling of multiple Celebrity Millennium stops, I think we won’t be passing that particular mark this year,” Woizeschke says.

In August, multiple mechanical problems sidelined the Millennium in both Seward and Ketchikan, forcing cancellation of several voyages.

Several new ships called on Juneau this summer, including the 1,041-foot Celebrity Solstice, which Woizeschke says is the largest cruise ship to sail Alaska waters.

She says based on hotel occupancy rates, the number of independent travelers to Juneau this summer may be high.

“We think that’s a good indicator of lots of independent travelers coming and spending multiple nights here,” she says. “And then we’ve had a lot of smaller cruise ships, for instance the Un-Cruise Adventures came to port for the first time this year. Lot of those folks, because they depart and come back here, have the opportunity to spend a couple of days in Juneau on either side of their trip.”

Holland America’s Oosterdam and Westerdam were the last two ships in port Wednesday.  The Westerdam was not expected, but bad weather earlier this week forced it to revise its schedule.

The first cruise ship of 2014 will sail into Juneau on May 1st.