In 2019, almost 1.4 million passengers visited Alaska on nearly 600 scenic cruises, according to the Cruise Lines International Association. They generated over $1.6 billion in revenue for businesses in Alaska. They made up over 60 percent of all Alaskan tourism. Many small communities up and down the 46,600 miles of Alaskan coastline rely entirely on the cruise season and the business it brings.
“My heart breaks for Alaska and its wonderful people as we face a potential second year of zero cruise operations during the all-important summer tourism season, bringing yet another blow to Alaska’s tourism economy. Alaska is one of our guests’ most popular cruise destinations and we are doing everything in our power to safely resume operations in the U.S. which will provide much needed relief to the families, communities and small businesses who rely on cruise tourism for their livelihoods,” said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
As 2021 progresses with no cruise season in sight, Alaska estimates that the two lost seasons will cost the state and estimated $3.3 billion and cost more than 22,000 jobs.
On Wednesday, May 4th, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) announced that it will be donating $10 million in cash to six Alaska coastal communities which have been devastated by the suspension of cruise lines. The money will go directly to the port communities of Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Hoonah, Seward, and Sitka. It’s in these towns and cities that the majority of tourism-based jobs have been lost.
“We want to thank Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings for the generous $10 million of support it is providing to our coastal port communities who have been severely affected by the ongoing cruise suspension which is expected to have a devastating $3.3 billion impact to the Alaskan economy,” said Gov. Mike Dunleavy of Alaska. “Thousands of small businesses and Alaskans relying on the summer tourism season to make their living cannot afford another canceled cruise season. We are ready to partner with the cruise lines, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Biden-Harris administration and the Canadian authorities to bring cruising back to Alaska safely this summer.”