Cruise ship season starts early in Juneau with the Volendam making an unexpected port of call Saturday.
According to Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska, the Holland America Line ship departed from Japan and was supposed to stop in Kodiak, but had to divert due to bad weather in the Gulf of Alaska. The Volendam is carrying 1,200 passengers.
Juneau’s first scheduled cruise ship is the Carnival Miracle on May 1.
Elizabeth Arnett is tourism marketing manager for the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau. She says the last minute port of call is catching the retail industry off guard.
“For the businesses downtown that are open year-round, it’s going to be a little extra boom for them that they weren’t expecting. But I imagine some of the retail merchants downtown that weren’t prepared to be open until next week may or may not be open,” Arnett says.
The Volendam will dock at the Alaska Steamship Wharf, near the downtown public library, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. Arnett says the visitor’s center kiosk will be open.
Ellen Lynch, director of shore excursions for Holland America Line, says many Juneau tour operators will be able to provide services on Saturday.
“I believe Era is operating, Wings up to Taku, and the glacier flightseeing that they do. Allen Marine is operating the whale tours. Some of the bus tours will go. The biking tour will go. Those are the only ones I know about. I’m sure there’s many more,” Lynch says.
The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center is closed for the month of April, but director John Neary says a few staff members will be available on the ground to answer questions.
The Mt. Roberts Tramway will run Saturday, but won’t officially open until May 1.
After Juneau, the Volendam will continue onto scheduled stops in Glacier Bay, Ketchikan and Vancouver.
(Editor’s note: A previous version of this story stated the Mt. Roberts Tramway will run Saturday for cruise passengers. The story has been updated to reflect the Mt. Roberts Tramway will be open for the general public.)