tourism

Passengers of the Norwegian Bliss look out across downtown Juneau as they wait to disembark on April 17, 2023. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)

My Turn: Juneau’s economy is not on the line — Ship-Free Saturdays is about better balance

Judging by the “Save Juneau” posters one would think that Juneau’s economic well-being is at stake with the initiative to have one day a week… Continue reading

 

Capital Transit buses wait to depart from the downtown transit center on Thursday. Route number 8 was adjusted this spring. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)

More service, visitor information helping Capital Transit to keep up with extra cruise passenger traffic

Remedies made after residents unable to board full buses last year seem to be working, officials say

 

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)

My Turn: Tourism has destroyed the Juneau I grew up in

Following Paul Fuhs letter May 6, I would say this: I don’t know where in Alaska he grew up, but I can say with complete… Continue reading

 

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on Friday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Cruise industry says Marine Passenger Fees being spent illegally as Assembly members give initial OK to $21M list

$5M for shore power, $3M for Capital Civic Center, $2M for Marine Park improvements among projects

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on Friday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
About 20 people gather in Marine Park at midday Tuesday for a rally calling for a ban on large cruise ships on Saturdays in Juneau. Some of the participants are members of a committee planning to gather signatures for a petition to put the question on the ballot for local voters. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Activists hoping to put Saturday ban on large cruise ships on local ballot

Proposed initiative would also make July 4 a ship-free day in Juneau.

About 20 people gather in Marine Park at midday Tuesday for a rally calling for a ban on large cruise ships on Saturdays in Juneau. Some of the participants are members of a committee planning to gather signatures for a petition to put the question on the ballot for local voters. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The 1,094-foot-long Norwegian Bliss docks in Juneau early Tuesday morning to begin this year’s cruise ship season. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

First cruise ship of the season arrives to welcomes, planned protest

Passengers get warm reception at dock, may encounter midday rally seeking ship-free Saturdays.

The 1,094-foot-long Norwegian Bliss docks in Juneau early Tuesday morning to begin this year’s cruise ship season. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Tourists wait at a Capital Transit bus stop about 1.5 miles from the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center on July 19, 2023. Large numbers of cruise ship visitors taking city buses to get near the glacier last year meant there often wasn’t space for local residents going to other locations. (Photo by Laurie Craig)

First cruise ship of season expected to match last year’s record-high traffic arrives Tuesday

Officials say new five-ship daily limit will reduce passengers compared to busiest days last year.

Tourists wait at a Capital Transit bus stop about 1.5 miles from the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center on July 19, 2023. Large numbers of cruise ship visitors taking city buses to get near the glacier last year meant there often wasn’t space for local residents going to other locations. (Photo by Laurie Craig)
A mountain biker takes advantage of a trail at Eaglecrest Ski Area during the summer of 2022. The city-owned resort is planning to vastly expand its summer activities with a new gondola and the facilities by 2026. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)

Eaglecrest’s big summertime plans, including the gondola, get OK from planning commission

Ski area also planning new summit lodge, snowtubing park, bike trails and picnic pavilion by 2026.

A mountain biker takes advantage of a trail at Eaglecrest Ski Area during the summer of 2022. The city-owned resort is planning to vastly expand its summer activities with a new gondola and the facilities by 2026. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)
The Norwegian Bliss arrives in Juneau on April 17, 2023, the first cruise ship of the 2023 season. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)

Free public downtown Wi-Fi, park upgrades, more buses among proposals for marine passenger fees

Public comments being accepted until March 25 for more than $19 million in recommended projects.

The Norwegian Bliss arrives in Juneau on April 17, 2023, the first cruise ship of the 2023 season. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
This screenshot from a court filing by the Alaska Department of Law shows two identical pairs of wool booties taken from a tourist shop near Denali National Park. One pair bears the label “made in Nepal,” while the other says that it was made in Alaska. (Screenshot)

Mythical ‘Yakutat alpaca’ items costs Denali-area clothing shop $53,000 in fines

No such creature exists, despite claims of store officials say re-branded foreign products.

This screenshot from a court filing by the Alaska Department of Law shows two identical pairs of wool booties taken from a tourist shop near Denali National Park. One pair bears the label “made in Nepal,” while the other says that it was made in Alaska. (Screenshot)
Doug Chilton works on a canoe journey carving at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé in February of 2016. (Courtesy of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)

Longtime Tlingit artist and activist Doug Chilton closing his shop Dec. 24, heading south

Juneau-born resident plans to return for One People Canoe Society trips he founded, other events.

Doug Chilton works on a canoe journey carving at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé in February of 2016. (Courtesy of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)
Hundreds walk the waterfront near Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza during the 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival in early May. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)

Survey: Residents increasingly negative about cruise tourism, but positive opinions still prevail

48% of respondents say overall impacts positive, 22% negative after record-high passenger season.

Hundreds walk the waterfront near Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza during the 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival in early May. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Cruise ship passengers walk around in downtown Juneau in late May. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)

Public suggestions for spending cruise ship passenger fees being accepted starting Monday

More than $21.6M available after record season, but proposals limited to cruise-related projects.

Cruise ship passengers walk around in downtown Juneau in late May. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Visitors take a selfie on the downtown cruise ship docks in July. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)

My Turn: Know who you’re sitting with at the table

As a professional who has sat at many a negotiating table, I am all for sitting down to address concerns and differences, particularly when the… Continue reading

Visitors take a selfie on the downtown cruise ship docks in July. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
A tourist departs a cruise ship in the documentary “Cruise Boom,” which was screened Friday as part of an Evening at Egan presentation at the University of Alaska Southeast. The film is also scheduled to be shown Saturday at the Gold Town Theater. (Courtesy of Artchange Inc.)
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Presentation pitching partnerships to address cruise ship impacts proves provocative

“I do not trust these corporations one iota,” says one attendee; others see signs of hope.

A tourist departs a cruise ship in the documentary “Cruise Boom,” which was screened Friday as part of an Evening at Egan presentation at the University of Alaska Southeast. The film is also scheduled to be shown Saturday at the Gold Town Theater. (Courtesy of Artchange Inc.)
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Tourists explore downtown Sitka in the documentary “Cruise Boom,” which is screening Friday at the University of Alaska Southeast and Saturday at the Gold Town Theater. (Courtesy of Artchange Inc.)

‘Cruise Boom’ showing in Juneau before sailing back to Sitka screen

Documentary and talk slated for Friday at UAS; Saturday afternoon screening at Gold Town Theater.

Tourists explore downtown Sitka in the documentary “Cruise Boom,” which is screening Friday at the University of Alaska Southeast and Saturday at the Gold Town Theater. (Courtesy of Artchange Inc.)
Juneau Assembly members cast an informal vote during a Committee of the Whole meeting Monday night about the volume of cruise tourism they want to see in Juneau in future years. Mayor Beth Weldon (left) and Assembly member Greg Smith (middle) cast neutral votes essentially favoring an as-is approach, while Michelle Bonnet Hale, Paul Kelly and Ella Adkison suggesting they prefer lower numbers than the record 1.66 million passengers that visited this year. Votes by the other four members included one as-is and three “thumbs down,” for a 6-3 vote in favor of the city’s tourism director exploring a strategy for 2026 and beyond that results in fewer annual cruise visitors. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
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Most Assembly members express preference for fewer cruise visitors after record season

In 6-3 informal vote, members ask tourism director for reduction strategy for 2026 and beyond.

Juneau Assembly members cast an informal vote during a Committee of the Whole meeting Monday night about the volume of cruise tourism they want to see in Juneau in future years. Mayor Beth Weldon (left) and Assembly member Greg Smith (middle) cast neutral votes essentially favoring an as-is approach, while Michelle Bonnet Hale, Paul Kelly and Ella Adkison suggesting they prefer lower numbers than the record 1.66 million passengers that visited this year. Votes by the other four members included one as-is and three “thumbs down,” for a 6-3 vote in favor of the city’s tourism director exploring a strategy for 2026 and beyond that results in fewer annual cruise visitors. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
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Passengers return to the Norwegian Sun cruise ship early Wednesday evening, the final ship to visit Juneau this year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Sun sets on record cruise ship season

1.65 million passengers representing 101% of ship capacity visited Juneau, preliminary figures show.

Passengers return to the Norwegian Sun cruise ship early Wednesday evening, the final ship to visit Juneau this year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
A whale surfaces near an Alaska Tales Whale Watching boat in early September. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Whale watching operators recommend solutions to industry impact ahead of 2024 season

Limiting number of boats, speeds and “whale sighting guaranteed” marketing among recommendations

A whale surfaces near an Alaska Tales Whale Watching boat in early September. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
The Captain Cook, one of two tour boats operated by Adventure Bound Alaska, is seen here docked at Aurora Harbor on July 25. The company is facing numerous consumer complaints and legal action involving allegations of canceled trips that were not refunded and unpaid bills. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)

Limited options for Adventure Bound customers

Online websites still touting troubled tour operator, while consumer agencies hold little power.

The Captain Cook, one of two tour boats operated by Adventure Bound Alaska, is seen here docked at Aurora Harbor on July 25. The company is facing numerous consumer complaints and legal action involving allegations of canceled trips that were not refunded and unpaid bills. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)