Three more cruise ships have canceled their trips to Kodiak this summer, that’s according to a press release from Alaska Maritime Agencies.
This summer is the first since 2019 that cruise ships have come to Kodiak Island. And 15 cruise ships were scheduled to call in Kodiak when Alaska Maritime Agencies released its schedule in March. The new cancellations mean that 7 will now visit the island.
“So, that’s quite a bit different than what we were planning on,” said Aimee Williams, the executive director of the visitors center Discover Kodiak.
Kodiak’s cruise schedule has gone up and down throughout summer – partly due to COVID, along with ships that were bound for Russia and changed their itineraries because of the invasion of Ukraine.
Only one cruise ship has called in Kodiak – twice – this summer, and Williams says it wasn’t at capacity. But she says the visitors center has been busy.
“We were very busy last year as well,” said Williams. “Last year it was just a very different dynamic of people, it was a lot of people traveling inside the state of Alaska.”
Williams says that Discover Kodiak marketed largely to tourists in Fairbanks and on the Kenai Peninsula throughout the pandemic – and they’ve returned this year, too.
“This year, we’re seeing those people again, but we’re also seeing the return of our international tourists. So we’ve had a lot of Germans, a lot of French, some Italians, people that are coming back who we hadn’t seen in 2020 or 2021,” said Williams.
Cruises provide a welcome boost for businesses downtown, but Kodiak’s economy isn’t as tied to the industry as parts of Southeast, according to Williams. And while the canceled ships are a disappointment, she says overall it’s baby steps in the right direction, especially after the pandemic effectively halted travel.
“I think next year we’ll see quite a significant difference,” she said.
The Roald Amundsen – which has already called twice in Kodiak this summer – will return on Monday. After that, Kodiak won’t see another cruise ship until Sept. 10 when the 228 passenger Scenic Eclipse docks at Pier 2.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated since it originally aired because of another cruise ship cancellation.