After more than a year without cruise ship dockings due to the pandemic, Petersburg saw its first visit from a cruise ship since 2019.
The 104-foot Alaskan Dream, owned by Sitka-based Alaskan Dream Cruises, tied up in Petersburg’s harbor Wednesday as guests enjoyed a show of Norwegian dancing. The company is requiring COVID-19 vaccination for passengers age 18 and up, and it’s allowing those guests to explore communities and shop. Petersburg did not see any port calls during the 2020 pandemic year.
Alaskan Dream captain Eric Morrow said it was exciting to return to cruising after last year’s shutdown.
“I think for all involved, after the hiatus that we all experienced during the 2020 season, there’s definitely some rust to knock off. But overall it’s get back to cruising and enjoy what makes Southeast Alaska special,” Morrow said. “The small boats in particular really emphasize the communities. Petersburg is our visit today, we visited Wrangell yesterday and the reception we’re getting from the locals and from the communities is what makes it special.”
Morrow said the passengers on the first cruise include some Alaskans who chose to see another part of the state.
“We opened it up to the state, the small boat cruise for this trip, so we’ve got quite a few Alaskans aboard,” he said. “In fact, yesterday Frank Murkowski and his wife joined some of the Alaskan guests, and we had the honored gentleman aboard for lunch, and it’s just neat to see what is community and the sustainability of Southeast.”
After visiting Petersburg, the Alaskan Dream headed on to Thomas Bay and Tracy Arm on the mainland.
Petersburg has over 60 port calls scheduled for the companies that are planning to dock here in 2021. Some are requiring vaccination and not planning to let guests off in all communities. Others are encouraging vaccination but not requiring it.