Cruise Town, Season 2, Ep. 2: What’s in a plan?

Cruise ships and passengers at Skagway’s railroad dock on May 23, 2016. (Photo by Emily Files/KHNS)
Cruise ships and passengers at Skagway’s railroad dock in May 2016. (Photo by Emily Files/KHNS)

For the past several months, it’s been a lot of “will they or won’t they” with regard to the cruise industry coming to Alaska this year. And now that it’s clear that they won’t, cruise towns in southeast Alaska are thinking about next year.

Juneau has a long, dark winter to look forward to after finishing out this shipless summer, but the hope is that by the time April rolls around, the pandemic will be on its way out or cruise ship companies will at least have figured out how to operate safely despite it.

In this season of the Cruise Town, we’re taking a look at what happens in a cruise town with no cruise ships. In the last episode, we talked about the events that brought us to this point — how a record breaking season evaporated before it ever got started. Now, we’re looking ahead at what’s next.

All along the coast of Alaska’s panhandle, communities — most of them much smaller than Juneau — welcome cruise ships every summer and rely on the revenue they bring.

Adelyn Baxter has an update from two other cruise towns along Alaska’s Inside Passage: Ketchikan at the southern end and Skagway at the top.

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